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Avoid this potentially fatal driving condition

Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes each year. Learn how to reduce risk.

Man fighting off sleep while driving

Talking, texting, and drinking are all common car-crash causes, but there's a lesser-known accident culprit: fatigue. The struggle to stay awake while driving may be more common than you realize: 37 percent of people have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation.

Fatigued driving isn't worth that risk: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average there are 56,000 crashes annually in which driver drowsiness/fatigue was cited by police, with roughly 40,000 nonfatal injuries and 1,550 deaths.

Late night drivers, workers who had a long day, or those who haven't slept well should heed warning signs. If you're yawning, blinking a lot, or nodding off—or if you can't focus—think twice about getting on the road.

If you're driving drowsy

If you experience the above fatigue symptoms while driving, pull over safely and try the following:

  • Ask another passenger to drive.
  • Take a 15-20 minute nap if you're in a safe spot.
  • Pull over at a rest stop or gas station, and walk around to feel refreshed.

To prevent nodding off in the first place, follow these additional tips.

Allow technology to assist

Though it's no replacement for a good night's rest, current automotive technology can help pinpoint signs of drowsy driving and help prevent collisions.

  • Fatigue warning systems track your steering, blink rate duration and other behaviors and will alert you if they suspect sleepiness.
  • Lane departure warning and prevention systems monitor your vehicle's position and react if you're in danger of drifting into another lane.
  • Forward collision warning systems use sensors to follow vehicles in front of yours and may engage automatic braking to prevent accidents.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


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