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1 in 24 motorists have driven drowsy, report shows

When one thinks of traffic safety hazards, impaired driving, speeding and distracted driving tend to come to mind. Drowsy driving is often overlooked but that doesn't make it less dangerous. Research shows that missing four hours of sleep can impair driving as much as a six-pack of beer.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control shows that it may be an even more serious problem than people realize. According to their report, one in 24 motorists admitted to having recently driven while drowsy or nodded off behind the wheel.

Even more troubling: since the data were based on self-reports, the real number of people driving while drowsy could be even higher. It is common for drowsy drivers to nod off for a moment and then snap back into consciousness, never realizing that they nodded off. These drivers are not only putting themselves at risk, but also every other person on the road, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Drowsy driving is completely preventable but the only way to avoid it is to get enough sleep. If you find yourself in a situation where you are required to drive but cannot get adequate sleep beforehand, there are a few steps to reduce your risk. Consume caffeine, take a short nap and take frequent breaks to avoid nodding off on the road.

Unfortunately, even the most careful and vigilant motorists can find themselves involved in a serious crash caused by someone else's negligence. If you or a loved one are injured because of an irresponsible driver, consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney who can fight for you and pursue any claims.

Source: Injured, "1 in 24 Admit to Drowsy Driving: Study," Andrew Lu, Jan. 4, 2012

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