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How to avoid drowsy driving

Drowsy driving continues to be a major hazard in Michigan and across the U.S., according to a survey by AAA. In fact, the auto club found that nearly one-third of drivers admit that they've been so sleepy they had difficulty keeping their eyes open behind the wheel in the previous 30 days.

Part of the problem is that many drivers don't understand how dangerous drowsy driving is. A study by the National Sleep Foundation found that drivers who stay awake for 24 straight hours are as impaired as drivers who have a blood alcohol content level of .10, which is higher than the legal limit. Meanwhile, prescription sleep aids aren't helping. While most sleep medications advise that users get a minimum of seven or eight hours of sleep after taking them, a Consumer Reports survey found that one in five users drive within seven hours of consuming the drugs.

In order to avoid drowsy driving, experts recommend that people get at least seven hours of sleep each night. If they still feel drowsy after getting the recommended amount of rest, they should visit a doctor to be evaluated for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders. If someone feels sleepy while behind the wheel, he or she should pull over and take a short nap. After waking, they may benefit from consuming a caffeinated beverage, such as coffee.

Drowsy drivers who cause car accidents could be sued for damages in civil court. An injured victim could file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property loss and other crash-related losses. Victims could begin the lawsuit process by contacting an attorney who has experience with these types of matters.

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