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Does Drowsy Driving = Drunk Driving?

Daylight saving time has ended, and although this typically means the chances for getting an extra hour of sleep, the change of schedule can throw off your sleep pattern. In fact, you may be among the many who take advantage of the extra hour to stay up later. Nevertheless, it may be days or weeks before you get back into a rhythm, and meanwhile, you must go on with your normal life.

You are not the only one feeling this way, and chances are daylight saving time has little to do with the number of drowsy drivers you encounter every day on your commute. A recent study shows that drowsiness behind the wheel can be even more dangerous than you may suspect.

What are the dangers?

A driver does not have to fall asleep to place you in danger. Many drivers are awake but hardly alert. That may be because they are not getting enough sleep each night. In fact, studies show that about 20 percent of those in the U.S. get fewer than the recommended seven to 10 hours of sleep each night. This results in many drivers who are unable to react appropriately to sudden changes in driving conditions or make effective decisions behind the wheel.

Numerous surveys show that among all fatal crashes, 16 percent involve a driver who was sleepy. Drivers who sleep four hours or fewer are 15 times more likely to cause an accident. It may shock you to learn that researchers say this risk is equal to that of someone who has a blood alcohol content 1.5 times over the legal limit.

Taking precautions

Most days, you probably feel like you need more sleep anyway, and you may know the minimum number of hours of sleep you can get and still be able to function throughout the day. However, this minimum amount may not be enough to keep you alert and reactive while driving. Knowing you are not the only one on the road who drives without adequate sleep may make you even more cautious about making sure you are fit to operate a motor vehicle.

Unfortunately, not every driver will take these precautions, and there is always the chance you will become the victim of a drowsy driver. When this happens, you have the right to seek appropriate compensation for your injuries as well as your pain and suffering. By consulting a Wisconsin attorney, you can obtain information about your options for seeking restitution.

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