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Drivers don't always take drowsy driving seriously

Even safe drivers -- those who would never drink and drive, for example -- don't always take drowsy driving as seriously as they should. Experts note that they tend to overestimate their abilities behind the wheel when they're too tired, and they underestimate the risks.

In short, they don't think being tired is going to cause a crash. Even if they acknowledge that it can, they don't think they're that tired, and they assume they can just gut it out and get home safely.

The reality is quite different. For instance, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety contends that drivers are involved in one out of every six deadly wrecks. In many cases, this happens because they literally fall asleep behind the wheel. Even nodding off for a second or two and then jerking back awake can be plenty of time for a car to crash when it's going 55 miles per hour.

Even so, surveys have found that tired drivers are very common. One survey had 2 percent of those who took it say they regularly drove when they were feeling tired -- something that is perhaps common on that early-morning commute to school or work, or on a late-night commute home.

In the month before the survey was conducted, a full 28.3 percent of people said they'd chanced it and driven while tired a least one time. Perhaps more frightening is that 19 percent said they did it multiple times.

The risk is more than just deadly accidents. AAA says that 13.1 percent of wrecks that put people in the hospital and 7 percent of crashes where a car had to be towed are the result of tired drivers.

As you can see, the risk is always there, whether other drivers take it seriously or not. If you're hit and injured, be sure you know about your right to financial compensation.

Source: The Street, "5 Signs You're Too Tired to Drive," Jerry Kronenberg, accessed Oct. 05, 2017

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