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AASM: Too many Americans are driving drowsy

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2019 | Car Accidents

West Virginia residents should know that drowsy driving is involved in an average of 328,000 car crashes every year. AAA claims that 6,400 of these are fatal. In a recent survey of 2,003 U.S. adults, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found out just how prevalent drowsy driving is. Roughly 45% of respondents admitted that they have had to struggle to keep their eyes open behind the wheel.

The AASM states that drowsy driving is preventable. It all comes down to getting adequate sleep: a minimum of seven hours for adults. If one adheres to a healthy, regular sleep schedule and yet feels continual fatigue, then this may be due to a sleep disorder. In such cases, it would be good to consult a sleep specialist.

Drivers should be on the lookout for the warning signs of fatigue. These include frequent yawning, drifting out of one’s lane, missing turns and exits, tailgating and the inability to remember what the last few miles traveled were like. When sleepy and still far from their destination, drivers should pull over for a 20-minute nap.

For long trips, having a passenger is a good idea. Drivers should try to have someone to talk to and switch places with. If possible, it’s also best to avoid heading out at night. Caffeinated beverages can boost alertness, but the effects are not lasting.

When drowsiness contributes to a traffic accident, an injured victim might want to file a claim. West Virginia allows victims to recover damages as long as they are less than 50% to blame. Of course, any degree of fault will lower the amount they recover, so a victim may want a lawyer to help them get a fair settlement. If a settlement cannot be agreed on with the other side, the attorney may litigate.