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Why does drowsy driving cause car accidents?

When you get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, you should be 100 percent alert and ready for anything that comes your way. If you are feeling tired, regardless of the reason, it is best to rest before starting your vehicle and taking to the open road.

Even though you may understand the importance of avoiding drowsy driving, others are not always on the same page. Instead, they try to "fight through" their fatigue, hoping it doesn't come back to cause them trouble.

The National Sleep Foundation makes it clear that drowsy driving can have a negative impact on any driver. Its Sleep in America Poll notes that 37 percent of people have admitted to falling asleep while driving over the past year.

As a driver, here are some signs that it is time to pull over to rest:

-- Difficulty focusing on the road

-- Daydreaming

-- Trouble remembering what is going on around you

-- Difficulty keeping your head up

-- Feeling restless

-- Yawning and excessive blinking

-- Drifting from lane to lane

You can do your part in ensuring that you never drive drowsy. However, you cannot do anything about other drivers who may be doing the same.

It is easy to understand why drowsy driving causes car accidents: The driver is not concentrating on the road, which improves his or her chance of making a mistake.

If you are in close proximity to somebody driving in an erratic manner, do your best to keep your distance. Doing so could help you avoid an accident.

Source: National Sleep Foundation, "Drowsy Driving," accessed March. 30, 2015

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