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Sleepy driving just as dangerous as drunk driving

Most people in the country and throughout the world generally understand that it is unwise and possibly illegal to get behind the wheel of a car after drinking alcohol. We all know on some level that choosing to drink and drive is not only dangerous for the driver who makes the choice, it is dangerous for other drivers. Often it is the other drivers on the road who suffer the greatest consequences of this unwise decision.

However, many people fail to recognize other forces that can affect a driver as much or more than alcohol. Chief among these is sleepiness. Sleepy or drowsy driving places a driver with compromised responses and judgement behind the wheel, just like alcohol. Similarly, sleepy driving can cause catastrophic collisions that seriously injure or kill other drivers.

As a responsible driver, you should protect yourself and others from unnecessary risk by avoiding sleepy driving whenever possible.

Are you alert enough to drive?

Remaining mindful of sleepy driving is simple, once you understand how important it is. If a person plans to go to a show and have several drinks, it is often much wiser to plan on a designated driver or use a ride-sharing service. A person who anticipates unavoidable sleepiness should allow the same sort of accommodations.

Maybe you're planning to stay up all night studying for finals, take the finals and then drive home to see your family and friends several hours away. This places tremendous pressure on you to remain mentally alert after hours of hard mental work and a severe lack of sleep.

Driving several hours or even 15 minutes after that kind of no-sleep marathon is far more dangerous than many students realize, and some number of students in just this circumstance either die or suffer serious injury because of sleepy driving after pulling an all-nighter in school. Be sure to rest properly before getting behind the wheel if you already know that you are tired.

What if you get sleepy on the road?

Sometimes, especially during long drives or when getting off work after an overnight work shift, a person may grow very sleepy very quickly. If you experience this, you must address the problem as soon as you can.

If you can, pull over and get out of traffic in a safe space, like rest area, parking lot, or well-lit street. If you can stop by a gas station or some other market and get something to increase your alertness, consider doing so.

If you cannot eat or drink something to help increase your alertness, simply resting and breathing slowly for a few minutes may help. If not, you may need to take some time to rest in your vehicle or some other safe place. You may also consider using a ride-sharing service.

Get the help you need

Even for those who play by the rules, accidents do happen. If you recently experienced a car accident, don't hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney who understands how to protect your rights and pursue fair compensation for your injuries and other losses.

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Hixson & Brown, P.C.
160 South 68th Street
Suite 1108
West Des Moines, IA 50266

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