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Be aware of drowsy driving risks during holiday travel season

If you are like countless others in Delaware and elsewhere, you will be driving out of town for the holidays. When it comes to holiday travel, bad weather is not the only thing you need to be watchful for. Drowsy driving is a pervasive problem across the United States, and it may be more serious than you think.

In fact, the problem is so severe that the National Sleep Foundation and the National Safety Council have designated the first full week of November as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, just in time for your Thanksgiving travels. How can you avoid getting into a drowsy driving accident when you travel? The following tips are known to be effective:

  • Go to bed early the night before a trip.
  • Do not travel on less than a full night’s sleep.
  • Take someone with you who can switch turns driving.
  • Pull over for a nap in a rest stop or parking lot if you start to feel sleepy on the road.
  • Talk to your doctor about a suspected sleep disorder or medications you take that cause drowsiness.
  • Do not rely on caffeine, loud music or cold air to get you through a drowsy patch, as these solutions are only temporary and are unreliable.

Authorities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that 72,000 crashes related to drowsy driving caused 824 fatalities and 41,000 injuries across the U.S. in 2015. However, experts suspect that the annual number of sleep-related accidents is higher because it can be difficult to determine if fatigue was a factor.

People who work night shifts, drive commercial vehicles, have untreated sleep disorders or do not regularly get enough sleep are among those who are the most likely to get into a sleep-related crash. However, anyone can be in a drowsy driving accident, whether they were sleepy or someone else caused the accident. You may be eligible for compensation if you are the victim of a drowsy or negligent driver during the travel season.

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