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AAA warns against dangers of driving drowsy

Minnesota drivers who sleep only five or six hours in a 24-hour period are two times more likely to have a car accident compared to drivers who sleep seven or more hours, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The data was compiled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. The study looked at serious crashes in which drivers asked how much they had slept in the past 24 hours. The director of Traffic Safety Advocacy & Research for AAA said that people should not be driving unless they have slept for at least seven hours.

The NHTSA reports that in 2015, there was a 7.2 percent increase in fatal crashes compared to 2014. Other research estimates that around one in five crashes are caused by drowsy drivers. However, people are still not as aware of the dangers of driving while fatigued as they are those of distracted driving or drunk driving.

A person who has only slept five hours during the night can get the benefits of a seven-hour night with a two-hour nap during the day. Drivers who are on a long trip can stop and nap for 10 to 20 minutes roughly every two hours for more safety.

Car accidents caused by drowsy drivers may leave other people seriously injured. Even if the driver is insured, the insurance company might try to offer an injured person as little compensation as possible. In such a situation, an attorney representing the victim might find it advisable to proceed with a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist.

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