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Drowsy driving: More prominent than once believed

Everyone has had a moment behind the wheel when he or she felt too tired to keep driving. Most people decide enough is enough and pull over to the side of the road. They might take a nap or rest for several hours before continuing. Others grab a quick coffee and make sure they're awake and alert before continuing onward.

The American Automobile Association has shown that drowsy driving has become a much larger problem than once expected. According to their data, drowsy driving plays a larger role in the number of crashes that take place across America than the federal statistics show.

Approximately one in 10 collisions is a result of a drowsy driver. These crashes cause several thousands of deaths every year in this country. In the past, federal data suggested that only 1 to 2 percent of crashes were a result of drowsy or sleepy driving, but AAA believes the true statistics are closer to 10.8 percent based on videos from 700 accidents.

When people don't get enough sleep, they're putting others at risk. Adults need approximately seven hours of sleep every night to drive safely. Driving while drowsy makes drivers just as dangerous as drunk drivers, some studies have shown.

Don't make the mistake of getting behind the wheel when you're drowsy. Call a taxi, take a ride-sharing service or wait for someone else to get you home. If you're struck by someone who chose to drive while too tired to do so, you're within your rights to make a claim against his or her insurance.

Source: USA Today, "AAA: Drowsy driving plays larger role in accidents than federal statistics suggest," Bart Jansen, Feb. 08, 2018

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