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Didn't get enough sleep? Don't get behind the wheel while drowsy.

It's pretty common for people to go to sleep too late and to get up too early. With children, work, school and other activities to keep you busy, there may not seem to be enough hours in the day for everything you want to do and the eight hours of sleep you need.

Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep has the potential to cause you to get into a serious car accident. When you don't sleep enough, you're as dangerous as someone who is drunk behind the wheel.

Why is drowsy driving so dangerous?

The National Sleep Foundation has reported that drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Why? Sleep deprivation can have the same effects on your body as drinking does. For example, if you are awake for 18 hours without a nap or any sleep, the way you drive may be similar to someone with a blood alcohol concentration of .05 percent. If you have been awake for 24 hours, it's like you have a BAC of .10.

When it comes down to it, the reason drunk driving and drowsy driving are dangerous is because they both make it difficult to pay attention to what you're doing. You have slower reactions to the things going on around you, too, which means you may not be able to stop in time to prevent a crash or may not notice someone else's negligent behaviors that could cause a collision.

What can you do to drive more safely?

If you feel tired and you have no choice but to drive, try to take a 20-minute nap. This short nap should wake you up enough to continue to where you need to go. If you are noticing that you can't stop yawning and don't remember how you got where you are, a cup of coffee may help, too. If you can, the best idea is to have someone else take over driving while you catch some Z's.

Drowsy driving puts people's lives at risk. If you're injured by someone who drove without enough sleep, be sure to understand your range of options for obtaining the full and fair compensation you need.

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