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Are you at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel?

Are you a young adult?

Are you male?

Do you have young children?

Do you work the night shift?

Do you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or acute insomnia?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you are at risk.

We have all heard the horror stories about people falling asleep while driving, or getting hit by a driver who fell asleep behind the wheel. The scary reality is regular people fall asleep behind the wheel every day (and night) in the United States.

According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of drivers reported driving while drowsy and 37 percent of drivers reported actually falling asleep while driving.

The nonprofit found that young people, especially men, between the ages of 18 and 29 are most likely to drive while drowsy. In fact, men are also almost twice as likely to fall asleep behind the wheel compared to women.

What to know about drowsy driving

Thanks to data from the National Sleep Foundation, we know that:

  • 42 percent drivers become stressed, 32 percent get impatient and 12 percent tend to drive faster when drowsy.
  • Drivers most often fall asleep on long, boring, rural, high-speed highways, but people who live in urban areas are more likely than people who live in suburban or rural areas to fall asleep behind the wheel.
  • Most accidents or near-accidents caused by drowsy driving occur between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., but between midnight and 2 a.m., and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. are also peak times.
  • Drowsy driving carries a huge price tag. Accounting for approximately 100,000 accidents reported by the police each year, these fatigue-related accidents result in: jail sentences, personal injury settlements, reputation and career damage, severe injuries, and loss of life.

If you have been injured in an accident and you believe fatigue may have played a role, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for advice.

As the National Sleep Foundation reports, there is very little police training in place to correctly identify when motor vehicle accidents have been caused by fatigue, so an investigation may be necessary in order to hold the right parties accountable.

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