The dangers of driving while drowsy or deprived of sleep

Even the most skilled drivers in Texas can act carelessly or make serious mistakes when not fully alert while behind the wheel. In fact, a recent AAA survey found that a third of respondents admitted to having driven while excessively sleepy within the prior month. One possible reason for drowsy driving is getting behind the wheel too soon after taking a prescription sleep aid. One out of every five of the nearly 2,000 adults questioned by Consumer Reports admitted to doing this.

In some parts of the Lone Star State, drowsy driving might be difficult to avoid, especially in areas not served well by public transit systems. There's also research suggesting sleep deprivation can contribute to motor vehicle accidents just as much as alcohol and other potential sources of impairment. According to the National Sleep Foundation, individuals deprived of sleep for 24 hours have the equivalent of a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .10. In most states, .08 is considered legally drunk.

In order to reduce the risk of drowsiness behind the wheel, drivers are urged to get at least 7 hours of sleep before driving. They should also know when to seek medical assistance for sleep-related conditions like sleep apnea or insomnia. When one must go on a long road trip, driving with a companion could help prevent drowsiness.

When some type of driver impairment contributes to a motor vehicle crash, an attorney may attempt to show negligence by interviewing witnesses and reviewing any video footage captured before, during or after the accident. A responsible party's medical history might also be evaluated to determine if they should have taken certain precautions before getting behind the wheel in the first place. Ultimately, such evidence could help an injured crash victim obtain compensation via a personal injury claim.

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