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Holiday fatigue and drowsy drivers: It’s good to be wary

Love it or hate it, the holiday season is here — and that may leave you feeling unusually tired. Experts say that people are particularly prone to fatigue during the holiday season, whether it’s because of the hustle and bustle of all the shopping and festivities or end-of-the-year burnout.

As a whole, Americans tend to be sleep deprived in the first place, so that means there are a lot of drowsy drivers out there. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that there are roughly 91,000 drowsy-driving accidents every year, leaving around 800 dead and 50,000 people injured.

You do your best to get enough sleep, but you can still end up driving drowsy

Whether you’ve overindulged in food or drink, missed your regular nap or just have too many tasks to handle and not enough time to get everything done, you may find yourself getting sleepy behind the wheel.

Signs that it’s time to pull over and rest (or go home and sleep) include:

  • Missing traffic signals (running a red or blowing through a stop sign)
  • Suddenly realizing that you have no recollection of the last few miles you’ve driven
  • Missing your exit or turn or forgetting where you were going entirely
  • Drifting out of your lane or hitting the curb with your tires
  • Hitting the rumble strip at the side of the road
  • Yawning and blinking
  • Realizing that your eyes are red, sore and it is hard to focus

Ultimately, these are all signs that you shouldn’t be behind the wheel. Continuing to drive when you’re drowsy puts your safety — and the safety of others on the road — at an unbearable risk.

Unfortunately, you can’t control anybody but yourself, which means that you may have to contend with a lot of drowsy drivers this holiday season. If you end up in a wreck with one, find out more about what it takes to claim fair compensation for your losses.