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Drowsy driving and why it’s so dangerous

While driving around Missouri, you can be at a high risk for an accident, especially a drowsy driving accident. Anyone can get behind the wheel while feeling drowsy, and many do it consistently. Half of the respondents to a National Sleep Foundation survey said as much, and about 20% even admitted to falling asleep while driving at least once in the previous year.

The frequency of drowsy driving crashes

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that every year, there are 328,000 drowsy driving crashes, which is 350% more than the number that’s reported by police. Of these crashes, an estimated 109,000 involve injuries, and 6,400 involve a fatality.

The danger posed by drowsiness

Adults are meant to sleep at least seven hours a night according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Lack of sleep leads to fatigue, which is characterized by the inability to concentrate and make correct judgments. It also slows down a person’s reaction times. Going without sleep for 20 consecutive hours is like being drunk: specifically, like having a .08 blood alcohol concentration.

Extreme drowsiness can cause a person to undergo microsleep. This refers to four- or five-second periods of involuntary inattention. During microsleep, a driver traveling at highway speed could cover the distance of a football field without being aware of it.

Preventing drowsy driving

Besides getting adequate sleep, there are several interventions that can help prevent drowsy driving. Installing crash-avoidance technology like drowsiness alert and lane departure warning can be beneficial for many drivers.

About half of the initiators of drowsy driving crashes are under 25, so parents of teens should include a rule about drowsiness in their driving agreement. In addition, universities could set up educational programs to encourage safer driving.

Attorney for serious injury cases

When motor vehicle accidents arise from drowsy driving, they can form the basis for a personal injury claim. If you yourself were seriously injured through little or no fault of your own, you may want legal representation. The lawyer may be able to negotiate on your behalf for a settlement covering medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and lost wages.