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Car accident risks go up when drivers are drowsy

There are numerous drowsy drivers on Pennsylvania's highways. When people get too little sleep, their risk of being involved in car accidents increases substantially. This poses a danger to themselves as well as to others. A study released in early December shows how problematic getting insufficient sleep can be.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted the study. It reviewed data collected by the NHTSA from drivers who were involved in accidents that were severe enough to require a car to be towed away or for emergency medical personnel to transport a person to the hospital. The drivers were asked how many hours of sleep they had gotten in the previous 24 hours.

The drivers who said that they had slept for five to six hours showed an increased likelihood of two times of accident involvement than those who slept for more than seven hours. Drivers who slept for four to five hours had a four times greater risk. Sleep experts say that people should get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If people do not, they should try to take a nap at some point in the day to make up for the lost sleep.

Drowsy drivers who slept less than five hours in a night had car accident risks that were the same as those for drunk drivers. People should make sure that they get enough sleep and avoid driving when they are tired. A person who is injured in an accident with a drowsy driver might want to meet with an attorney to see if compensation for medical expenses and lost wages could be recovered.

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