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Even being sleepy can affect your ability to drive

You may be among the many Mississippi residents who just can't seem to get enough sleep. It seems to be a problem across the country. The fast pace of life these days leaves little time to catch enough "zzz's" to feel refreshed and alert.

This may be why it's not considered a big deal to get behind the wheel if you're drowsy. After all, it's not as if you are falling asleep while driving. Sadly, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous -- and deadly.

Consider the following information about drowsy driving

Every year, law enforcement agencies across the country attribute drowsy driving to thousands of motor vehicle accidents. The following classes of people tend to be at a high risk for driving while overtired:

  • Shift workers
  • Drivers with undiagnosed sleep disorders
  • Commercial drivers
  • Anyone taking medications that cause sleepiness

Of course, anyone who doesn't get enough sleep risks causing an accident. For instance, parents up at all hours of the night with their children often complain they are sleep deprived, and they are right. Even so, these people have personal and professional obligations to meet that may not always allow them to get adequate sleep before getting behind the wheel.

How bad can it be?

When a driver fails to get enough sleep, it can cause the following driving deficiencies:

  • Reaction times slow
  • Reduced attention span
  • Decision-making suffers

Do any of these issues sound familiar to you? They are the same issues affecting drivers who have too much to drink before getting into their cars.

What signs should you watch out for?

Experiencing the following may indicate that your ability to drive could suffer:

  • Drifting from your lane
  • No memory of the last few miles
  • Missing an exit
  • Hitting a rumble strip
  • Yawning uncontrollably
  • Blinking frequently

You may need to pull over and rest, especially if you have a long way to go.

What happens if you encounter a drowsy driver?

Even if you get ample sleep, avoid medications that cause drowsiness, avoid alcohol and make every effort to stick to your sleep schedule, other drivers may not. If another vehicle crashes into yours and causes you serious injuries, it's possible the driver was too drowsy to safely drive.

While you recover, you may incur substantial medical expenses and lose valuable income meant to support you and your family. If an investigation into your accident determines that the other driver was at fault, and perhaps too tired to drive, you may be able to pursue compensation for your financial losses and other damages.

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