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Drowsy driving, and the ways to combat it

Most Pennsylvanians will naturally feel drowsy following an extended period of wakefulness or after taking certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The important thing is to avoid getting behind the wheel during these times. Prescription sleep aids, for example, require one to sleep seven to eight hours before heading out. Unfortunately, many people ignore these directions and disregard the signs of drowsiness.

Motorists should follow a few tips to combat drowsy driving. First, drivers should ensure that they sleep seven or more hours per night. This is the CDC's recommendation for the average adult. Next, it's wise to see a doctor about any possible sleep disorders. With obstructive sleep apnea, one may wake up continually during the night and, as a result, get poor sleep even if they've been in bed for seven hours.

If the use of medications is interfering with one's commutes, then it may be wise to ask a doctor to change the timing of the doses. It's also wise to find a driving companion before going on a long road trip. This person could keep them awake with conversation or take turns at the wheel. Another temporary aid for a long trip is to drink plenty of caffeinated beverages without relying entirely on them. An occasional 20-minute nap on the roadside can be beneficial too.

Drowsiness makes one inattentive to the road and surroundings, which is why drowsy driving is considered negligent behavior. Many motor vehicle crashes are caused by negligence. Someone who has been injured by a negligent driver may want to hire a lawyer. Legal counsel might be able to negotiate a settlement that covers damages.

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