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Fatal California Car Accident Highlights Danger of Drowsy Driving

One person was killed and four others were hurt in a recent California car accident, after the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The accident happened around 11:42 p.m. on westbound I-10 near Desert Center, according to California Highway Patrol.

Unfortunately, driving while fatigued is all too common. About one-half of adult drivers – 51% or about 100 million people – say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and almost two in ten have actually fallen asleep at the wheel, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) 2002 Sleep in America poll.

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates driver fatigue causes 100,000 police-reported crashes, 1,550 deaths, and 71,000 injuries each year.

The good news is that drowsy driving accidents are preventable. Since any driver can fall victim to drowsy driving, below are some precautions you can take to stay alert while behind the wheel.

  • Make sure you get enough sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours while most teenagers need 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep a day.
  • Drive with a friend. You can share driving responsibilities and help keep each other alert while on the road.
  • Take a break every couple of hours. By stretching your legs, catching a quick nap or having a meal out of the car you can recharge your battery.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol and driving is a deadly combination. Also, make sure you are not taking any prescription drugs that could make you drowsy.