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Drowsy driving can lead to devastating accidents

People rely on their cars more and more each day. From driving to work, to school or simply running errands, the time spent in a vehicle seems to increase with no end in sight. Unfortunately, people driving home after a 12 hour shift or a late-night study session might not be as aware of their surroundings as others on the road would hope.

Driver fatigue is a serious problem - and one that simply cannot be regulated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. Additionally, they estimate that these crashes result in 1,550 deaths annually.

But what can be done?

It is relatively easy to investigate whether an accident was caused by a drunk driver. By breath tests or chemical tests (blood, urine, saliva, etc.), law enforcement can quickly determine whether alcohol was a factor in the accident. Unfortunately, no such test for drowsiness exists. In these situations, it is completely up to the driver to decide whether he or she is too tired to get home safely.

People have certain options before trying to drive home, but not all are attractive to different drivers.

  • Drink something: Whether it is coffee, tea, a soft drink or an energy drink, some drivers benefit from a quick blast of sugar and caffeine.
  • Drive with the windows open: Especially on a cool night, a cold breeze blowing through the car might help keep your eyes open.
  • Turn the radio up: Listening to loud music might help you keep focused on the road.
  • Sleep: Whether you have a friend nearby or you can stop at a motel, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to get the sleep your body needs. It might not be the most attractive option, but it certainly puts an end to driver fatigue.

The most important thing is to be aware of your own mental and physical state before getting behind the wheel. If you are too tired to safely get home, don't risk it. Call a cab. Call a friend. Don't be the cause of an easily preventable motor vehicle accident.

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