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What is fatigued driving?

Karns & Kerrison

Fatigued driving has been getting a lot of press due to how dangerous it is. There are many misconceptions about it, and many drivers in Rhode Island are guilty of doing it without even realizing it. To be a good driver and to stay safe on the roads, you should become familiar with what fatigued driving is and how it can affect you.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, fatigued or drowsy driving is caused when you are overly tired or falling asleep behind the wheel. Generally, you will know if you are affected because you will unable to focus properly on the road and on safely driving. 

The biggest challenge with fighting drowsy driving is law enforcement has no way to know if someone is too tired to drive. You could be pulled over for it, just as you can be pulled over for anything else when you are driving dangerously. However, there are no guidelines for passenger vehicles as to how much rest you need before driving and no tests to determine if this is the cause of accidents. 

If you get behind the wheel when you are too tired to drive, you put yourself and everyone else on the road at risk. It can be as dangerous as driving drunk. You may have delayed reaction times, difficulty staying in your own lane, trouble navigating curves or turns properly, a decreased ability to judge distance and problems processing information. 

Your best bet to avoid fatigued driving is to never get behind the wheel when you have not had adequate sleep. This information is for education and not to be taken as legal advice. 

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