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Thousands of Deadly Crashes Linked to Drowsy Driving

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 (KCEN) -- One in 25 people confess to falling asleep behind the wheel in just a 30 day time frame, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Based on the survey of more than 90,000 Americans in 10 states and Puerto Rico, the CDC estimates 1.8 million drivers drive drowsy each month.

"That's extremely scary.  You're attentive to your own driving, but you don't worry about  someone else falling asleep on the road," Kristall Willaims said.

A mother of five, Kristall was shocked - to say the least - when she heard the new statistic. And the more she heard, the more shocked she became.

According the report, 7,500 deadly crashes are linked to drowsy driving each year. That's just under the 10,300 deadly accidents caused by drunk driving. "A lot of people know when they're getting tired. You know the signs to look for and to pull over. I think this is something that is preventable," she said.

"It's a big problem we deal with everyday, and the thing with drivers being fatigued is it happens at anytime, anywhere at any age," Bell County DPS Trooper Harpin Myers said.

Myers says driving drowsy can be just as bad as driving drunk. He says it impairs your judgement, blurs your vision and slows your reaction time. This makes it easy to run stop signs, weave in an out of lanes, cause you to speed or tailgate.

"I've seen people drifting off next to me for two or three seconds, and then they're running off the road," Myers said. "Can you imagine running off the road on a two lane road hitting a vehicle head on?"

Myers says the best thing to do is get between six to eight hours of sleep each night. If you can't, try to take naps and rest if you know you will be driving long distances. Other things that can help are chewing gum, turning up the radio and air conditioning, and talking to someone. But if you feel yourself start to drift off, the safest thing is to pull over or have someone else take the wheel.

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