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AASM survey shows how prominent drowsy driving is

Tennessee residents have no doubt driven once or twice in a drowsy condition. There are cases, though, of drivers being so drowsy that they have trouble keeping their eyes open. In a survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 45% of the 2,003 respondents claimed that this has happened to them.

Drowsy driving is becoming a public health concern as it leads to thousands of car crashes every year, including 6,400 that are fatal, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Drowsy drivers become impaired in their decision-making ability and slower in their reaction times.

The AASM has some tips for drivers who want to make sure they avoid drowsiness on the road. It all begins with adequate sleep. Those who experience fatigue despite a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night may have a sleep disorder and should therefore see a doctor.

For long trips, drivers should try to bring someone along. If alone, drivers can take a short nap when feeling drowsy. Caffeine can help to boost alertness for the short term. It won't help to turn the radio up or roll down the windows. Drivers should be aware of the signs of drowsiness: for example, lane drifting, continual yawning and driving past one's turn.

If drowsy driving is a factor in a car crash, victims may file a claim against the drowsy driver's auto insurance company and seek an out-of-court settlement that covers their economic and non-economic damages. These might include medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Achieving such a settlement is another matter, so victims may want a lawyer to assist with every step, especially the gathering of proof and the negotiating. The lawyer might have a network of third parties, such as investigators, to help.

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