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Car crashes more likely when drivers are tired

Pennsylvania residents might have been warned about the dangers of drunk driving or texting behind the wheel, but many people may not hear much about driving while fatigued. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued a report on Dec 6. that illustrates how unsafe driving while tired could be. Compared to those who get at least seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, those who sleep for five or six hours are twice as likely to crash.

The report used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. Those who slept for four or five hours had four times the risk of crashing, which is similar to the risk rate for drunk drivers. Around 20 percent of fatal car accidents might involve a fatigued driver.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than one in three Americans typically do not sleep enough. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, but those who are tired could stop for nap breaks while making a long drive. A 10-20 minute nap after a few hours of driving may help someone drive safely. If an individual does not get seven or more hours of sleep during the night, one can catch up on rest by sleeping for a few hours during the day.

If someone is involved in a crash caused by a drowsy driver, the injured party might file a suit in civil court. The fatigued driver in this situation may be negligent as drivers owe others a reasonable standard of care on the road. As most people would likely agree that sleeping behind the wheel is unsafe, the drowsy driver could be liable for the crash.

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