Stay off the road: Drowsy driving more dangerous than previously reported, study finds

(CNN) - Drowsy drivers are a bigger problem than you may realize. They not only put their lives at risk but also everyone else on the road.

Drowsy driving is responsible for about 86,000 crashes each year. The CDC said an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers reported having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy drivers are a bigger road risk than previously thought.

Accidents are three times as great during the night time hours where drowsiness was a factor.

"Similar to alcohol intoxication," said Dr. Gholam Motamedi, of Georgetown University Hospital. "Your reflexes and responses and data processing speed will be slower."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers reported having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving is responsible each year for about 83,000 crashes - 37,000 of them with injuries - and nearly 900 deaths.

If you're on the road, make sure you recognize the signs of drowsy driving.

  • Yawning or blinking frequently.

  • Missing your exit.

  • Drifting from your lane.

If you think you are too tired to drive, you probably are. So pull over.

Better yet, don't get behind the wheel to begin with.

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