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Driving drowsy can be as dangerous as driving drunk

Texas is a big state and a lot of drivers spend many hours crossing the state in a vehicle, whether a commercial trucking vehicle or a personal one. Empty roads and long hours can combine to create the perfect atmosphere for drowsy driving, which is extremely dangerous for everyone on the road. According to the National Sleep Foundation, one third of drivers have fallen asleep while driving at one point and 66% of drivers say they have driven drowsy.

Those who have been awake for 18 hours and are driving drowsy have similar impairments to those who are driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .05. Because .08 is considered legally drunk, the dangers of someone driving while tired is like someone driving drunk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that commercial drivers, shift workers and those with untreated sleep disorders are most likely to drive when tired. One common sleep condition is sleep apnea, when the person continuously stops breathing through the night. Those who use medications that make them sleepy are also at risk for driving while tired.

Those who are driving long distances can watch for common signs of drowsy driving. These include missing an exit, drifting in and out of the lane, hitting rumble strips, blinking or yawning frequently and difficulty remembering where and when they are driving. Good sleeping habits and a good night rest before a long trip can save lives and help to decrease the instances of drowsy driving. Medication and alcohol should be avoided before getting behind the wheel. Those with a sleep disorder should seek treatment to prevent accidents and injuries caused by drowsy driving.

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