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AASM survey shows prevalence of drowsy drivers

In a survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 45% of the 2,003 respondents admitted to driving in such a drowsy state that they had trouble keeping their eyes open. This, as New York residents should know, is a dangerous condition to drive in. AAA reports that every year in the U.S., there are some 6,400 fatal car crashes that arise from drowsy driving. Drowsiness impairs judgment and slows reaction times.

It's important, then, that one be able to prevent drowsy driving. To this end, the AASM has provided several tips. The first is to obtain adequate sleep (at least seven hours for adults). Another is to avoid driving at night. On long trips, drivers should ideally have a companion to talk with or to take turns with behind the wheel.

Drivers should be familiar with the warning signs of drowsiness. For example, they may yawn and blink frequently. They may miss an exit or be unable to remember what the last few miles traveled were like. They may follow too closely to other vehicles and drift onto the rumble strip.

The AASM recommends that drivers take short naps on long trips. Caffeine will boost alertness, though only for a short time. Contrary to popular belief, rolling down the window and playing loud music are not beneficial.

When motor vehicle accidents are clearly the result of negligence on one side, then the other side may be able to file a claim for any injuries incurred. Drowsy driving is a form of negligence, but it can sometimes be difficult to prove. For this and other reasons, victims of a drowsy driver may want a lawyer by their side. They might leave all negotiations to their lawyer. If successful, they might be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages and more.

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