Avoiding drowsy driving in Kentucky

Kentucky motorists should know that being sleep-deprived can be as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol. The National Sleep Foundation says that staying awake for 24 hours makes a person act like someone with a blood alcohol content of .10 percent. For comparison, the legal limit for drivers is .08.

Yet many drivers underrate the importance of sleep. In a recent AAA survey, nearly one-third of respondents admitted to driving drowsy in the previous month. They said they were so tired they could hardly keep their eyes open. With the following in mind, however, drivers can avoid the dangers.

The CDC recommends a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night. Those with obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep disorders will remain drowsy, even if they follow this recommendation. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as sleep aids and antidepressants, will induce sleepiness as well. Those who take such drugs should see their doctors about regimen adjustments.

On the road, drivers should watch for signs of drowsiness like heavy eyelids and trouble remembering the last few miles. If they drift out of lanes or miss road signs and exits, this means sleepiness, too. During long trips, drivers should take a break every two hours and pull over for a nap when necessary. Anything longer than 20 minutes will leave drivers groggy afterward.

Drowsiness makes drivers negligent behind the wheel, slowing down reaction times and impairing judgment. Those who believe that a drowsy driver was responsible for a crash may have good grounds for a personal injury case. Since it is hard to prove drowsiness, however, they may want a lawyer working for them. The lawyer could negotiate with the defendant's auto insurance company for a fair settlement that covers medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages and more.

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