There are a number of ways that drivers in Wisconsin can become inattentive, and one is through drowsiness. Drowsiness does a lot more, though; it hampers one’s judgment-making ability and makes one sluggish in reacting to dangers. According to the National Safety Council, drowsiness triples the risk for a car crash.

It’s not hard to comprehend this when one thinks about the microsleep episodes that severely sleep-deprived individuals go through. These are four- or five-second bursts of involuntary inattention, and if a driver going at highway speed were to experience one, he or she could cover the length of a football field without knowing it.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that some 328,000 car crashes each year are due to drowsy driving. Of these, it believes that 109,000 involve injury and 6,400 at least one fatality. These estimates are much higher than official statistics say. There are around 100,000 police-reported drowsy driving crashes each year, so it’s clear that drowsiness is going largely undetected.

Drivers should be able to recognize the symptoms of drowsiness and then pull over for a nap when appropriate. Symptoms include inability to keep one’s eyes open, constant yawning, lane drifting and trouble remembering what the last few exits were. The only real solution to drowsiness is adequate sleep: seven hours minimum for adults.

Regarding those motor vehicle accidents that are clearly the result of drowsy driving or some other form of negligence, they can lay down the foundation for a personal injury claim. Under Wisconsin’s modified comparative negligence, crash victims can recover damages if they are 50% or less at fault, though their degree of fault will proportionally lower whatever they receive. In their effort to ensure a reasonable settlement, victims may want to hire a lawyer for negotiations and more.