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Everything you need to know about driver fatigue

There is no way to completely eliminate driver fatigue, as there will always be people who get behind the wheel when they should be resting. While truck drivers are known for driving while fatigued, this can strike anyone at any time of the day.

It goes without saying that falling asleep while driving is extremely dangerous. However, fatigued driving is just as big of an issue, as it can result in the following:

  • Inability to make good decisions
  • Slow reaction time
  • Less likely to pay attention to the road and surroundings

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four percent of people who participated in a recent survey admitted to falling asleep while driving at least once over the past 30 days.

Here are some of the many steps you can take to prevent drowsy driving:

  • Get enough sleep before driving, even if you're only taking a short trip
  • Talk to your doctor about any sleeping disorders that could be causing your fatigue
  • Don't drink alcohol or take medications that cause drowsiness before driving
  • Devise a sleep schedule that you're comfortable sticking with

Are you likely to drive drowsy?

While anyone can become fatigued while driving, these people are more likely to go down this path:

  • Anyone who doesn't get enough sleep
  • Commercial truck drivers
  • Shift workers, especially those who work at night or for long periods of time

For example, commercial truckers typically struggle with drowsiness, as they spend many consecutive hours behind the wheel. Even with federal regulations in place, this isn't always enough to keep drowsy truckers off the road.

The most common warning signs of drowsy driving include:

  • Missing your turn or exit
  • Trouble remembering the past few miles
  • Blinking and yawning
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Striking or almost striking objects on the side of the road

Even if you're 100 percent alert, you shouldn't assume that other drivers feel as good as you. Another person may be too tired to drive, which puts you and many others at risk of an accident.

If you're injured in a drowsy driving accident, move to safety and call 911 for help. After you receive treatment, you'll feel more comfortable making an insurance claim, learning more about the accident and settling on the best way to obtain compensation.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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Cary, NC 27511

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