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You have no way of knowing if other drivers are sleep deprived

Drunk driving and distracted driving get a lot of attention here in West Virginia and elsewhere in the country. However, there is another danger that puts your life at risk just as much as those do -- drowsy driving.

More than likely, you know from personal experience how hard it can be in today's fast-paced world to get enough sleep. Between work and family obligations, you may feel as though you spend at least part of your week feeling sleep deprived. If you feel that way, you can only imagine just how many drivers you share the roads with go through the same thing, and some of them could easily cause you serious injuries.

Some facts about drowsy driving

You may share the belief of many others that being tired doesn't affect your ability to drive safely, but that isn't the case. Consider the following facts about drowsy driving:

  • In the past 30 days, at least one out of 25 of the drivers you shared the road with fell asleep while driving if even for a few seconds.
  • Drivers age 25 and younger cause somewhere around 50% of the crashes involving sleep deprivation.
  • If you don't sleep for at least 21 hours, your ability to safely drive becomes the same as an individual with a 0.10% blood alcohol concentration, which is above the state's legal limit.
  • If you don't sleep for at least 18 hours, your ability to safely drive becomes the same as an individual with a 0.05% BAC. Even though this is below the legal limit, some level of impairment exists at this level.
  • Blasting the air condition, turning up the radio or rolling down the windows do not help you stay awake.
  • Even drinking caffeinated beverages only works for a short time.

These statistics are eye opening for many people, perhaps you included. The best way to combat drowsy driving is to get adequate rest, but if you can't, you may want to consider avoiding driving. When that isn't possible, try to ride with someone else, use caffeine wisely and pull over if you just can't keep your eyes open or exhibit other signs of sleepiness. Taking the extra time could save your life and the lives of others.

Several groups of people tend to suffer from sleep deprivation more than others do, but you can't know whether a driver next to you is one of them. Even if you take every precaution, someone else may not. If you suffer injuries because of it, you could pursue the compensation you deserve to help cover your financial losses and other damages associated with the accident.

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Kuenzel Law, PLLC
36 Adams Street
Chapmanville, WV 25508

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