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Drowsy and drunk driving: their similarities

60 percent of adults in the U.S. claim that they have engaged in drowsy driving before. Of those, a third even fell asleep behind the wheel. Drivers in West Virginia should be aware that there are serious consequences to driving while sleepy. First of all, the effects of sleep deprivation can mimic those of drunkenness.

The driving performance of those who go out after 18 consecutive hours of wakefulness are similar to those of drivers with a blood alcohol content of .05, which is below the legal limit of .08 but still cause for concern. After 24 consecutive hours, though the driver will act like one with a .10 blood alcohol content.

Both drowsy drivers and drunk drivers have a hard time focusing their attention on the road and will not be as fast in their decision-making. However, there are differences in the two drivers' usual actions. Drunk drivers tend to travel slowly and at least make an effort to brake and swerve out of the way of dangers, while drowsy drivers can fall asleep even as they're driving fast, preventing them from braking or swerving.

Drivers who notice that they are bobbing their head, constantly yawning or fighting against closing their eyes will want to pull over and either nap for 20 minutes or drink some coffee. Switching drivers is also recommended.

When drivers fail to take any precautions, fall asleep and cause an auto accident, they will be responsible for any injuries that the other party incurs. Victims can speak with a lawyer about filing a claim against the guilty party's auto insurance company. Whether they decide to litigate or settle out of court, the lawyer could provide representation at every step. Accident lawyers may have a network of investigators that they might be able to hire when building up proof against the defendant.

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