Mark H. Pearson, Attorney at Law
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Drowsy driving, and how to avoid it

Connecticut drivers who often find themselves drowsy behind the wheel should consider the danger that they pose. Drowsy driving, after all, is responsible for many auto accidents every year. Sleep deprivation, in its effect, is similar to alcohol. Going without sleep for 24 hours is like having a blood alcohol content of .10, well above the legal limit.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people should sleep at least seven hours every night. Those who feel drowsy even after achieving this minimum may have a sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. People who take medications like sleep aids, antidepressants, antihistamines and muscle relaxers are also at a greater risk for drowsiness. A doctor could adjust their regimen, such as by changing the timing of each dose.

On the road, drivers should watch out for symptoms of drowsiness like drooping eyelids, drifting out of lanes, missing road signs and trouble remembering the last few exits. If they notice these symptoms while on a long trip, they should pull over for a short nap.

Drivers should ideally have a companion for long trips so that conversations will keep them alert. They could also switch drivers if necessary. Taking a break every two hours is recommended. Consuming about 150 milligrams of caffeine is advisable. This can be found in 12 ounces of brewed coffee.

People who have been injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver often require lengthy and expensive medical care and treatment, during which they are unable to return to work. They might want to meet with an attorney to see how they might be able to obtain compensation for the losses that they have sustained.

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