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Keeping the risk for drowsy driving down

Drowsy driving is a widespread issue in Missouri. In fact, it may be more widespread than many believe; with a lack of any tests to prove drowsiness, drivers can easily lie to the police about it. However, a 2018 AAA study that analyzed videos of drivers estimates that 9.5% of all car accidents are caused by drowsy drivers.

Sleep deprivation is the most obvious cause with many drivers failing to sleep the recommended minimum of seven hours each night. Another issue is that drivers will take prescription sleep aids and go out on the road too soon. Most sleep aids recommend that users sleep seven to eight hours afterwards, but some people will start driving within seven hours, according to a 2018 Consumer Reports survey.

There are few solutions to drowsiness besides adequate sleep. Those who feel drowsy all day even after getting adequate sleep may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, so it may be wise to consult a doctor. Those who take prescription or over-the-counter medications may ask their doctor about a change in the dosage timing so as to minimize the risk for drowsy driving.

On long trips, drivers should ideally have someone to trade off with. It's recommended to take a break every two hours and pull over for a 15- or 20-minute nap in extreme cases.

If the police have determined that a drowsy driver was to blame for a car accident, then those who were injured may be able to seek compensation from that driver's auto insurance company. In this state, even those who were partially at fault may seek to recover damages; it is only that the amount will be proportioned to that degree of fault. Victims may want a lawyer by their side, especially for negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.

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