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What is drowsy driving?

Drowsy driving is a very dangerous habit that unfortunately takes place more commonly than it should. Drivers, particularly those who drive for many hours or on less sleep, can become drowsy and put others at risk. Truck drivers and commercial drivers are particularly dangerous due to the size of their vehicles and the damage that can be caused on impact.

Drowsy driving is serious for a few reasons. First, while a driver is not actually asleep behind the wheel, he or she may be drifting in and out of consciousness and not paying attention to the road or the other drivers nearby. Without the ability to make quick decisions, accidents can happen when they would have otherwise been avoided.

Drowsy driving makes drivers less able to pay attention to the roads, slows their reactions down substantially and hinders their ability to make good decisions overall. Around 70 million people in the United States struggle with sleep disorders, and that means those and others may be in a position to cause one of these accidents.

Around one in 25 drivers ages 18 or older report that they've fallen asleep behind the wheel; this is a startling statistic. There are some warning signs you and others can be aware of, though, to prevent these accidents. For one, if you are yawning or blinking often, you may be tired or falling asleep. Forgetting about what happened in the last few miles can be a sign, too. Drifting in and out of your lane or hitting a rumble strip may also be a sign of drowsy driving.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Drowsy Driving: Asleep at the Wheel," accessed May 20, 2016

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