The risks associated with drowsy driving

Drowsy driving is a danger that drivers in Michigan should do all they can to avert. Sleep deprivation can affect drivers like alcohol intoxication: The National Sleep Foundation says that staying awake for 24 hours is like having a blood alcohol content of .10 whereas one is legally drunk with a .08 BAC.

The first thing to do is get adequate sleep. The CDC recommends at least seven hours every night. Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea can compromise the quality of one’s sleep, so those who feel drowsy even after seven or more hours of sleep will want to be evaluated by a doctor. Certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as sleep aids, antidepressants and anxiety drugs, can induce drowsiness.

Even with adequate rest, drivers could find themselves sleepy during long trips. A companion may help keep drivers alert through conversation and even warn them against unsafe maneuvers. If drivers drift out of their lane and onto the rumble strip or miss road signs and exits, they are probably drowsy.

As a last resort, drivers can always pull over for a nap. It should be no more than 20 minutes, or drivers will feel groggy for at least 30 minutes afterwards. Drivers should know when to take a break: Every two hours is ideal. To stay awake, they could resort to caffeinated drinks.

A sleep-deprived driver who causes personal injuries in a car wreck may be held liable. Victims might have a lawyer evaluate their case under Michigan’s modified comparative fault rule so that they know how much they could be eligible for. The lawyer may be able to hire third parties to strengthen the case with evidence and negotiate for a settlement out of court. If the defendant’s auto insurance company makes a low-ball offer, victims might choose to litigate.