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How to prevent drowsy driving

If Arizona motorists are like most Americans, they've struggled to stay awake while driving at some point in their lives. In fact, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that 60 percent of adult drivers say they have felt drowsy behind the wheel and 37 percent say they have actually fallen asleep while driving. Meanwhile, a 2018 AAA report said that the number of motor vehicle accidents related to drowsy driving is nearly eight times higher than federal statistics suggest.

According to traffic safety experts, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. For example, the legal blood alcohol limit is .08. However, the National Sleep Foundation reported that going without sleep for 18 consecutive hours can make drivers behave as if they have a blood alcohol level of .05, and staying awake for 24 straight hours can have the same impact as a .10 blood alcohol level.

In order to reduce the risk of having an accident, experts say people should learn to recognize the signs of drowsy driving. These include frequent yawning, memory lapses, deviating from the lane and performing unsafe driving maneuvers. If a driver becomes drowsy while behind the wheel, experts say the best thing to do is to pull over and rest. Until then, drivers are encouraged to turn on all their vehicle's safety features, call someone to chat and play mental games to increase alertness.

Individuals who are injured in a car accident caused by drowsy driving have the right to sue the responsible driver for compensation. Victims could have their case evaluated and learn about their legal options by speaking with an attorney.

Source: NBC News, "How to tell if you're too tired to drive -- and what to do if you are", Brianna Steinhilber, July 8, 2018

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