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Ann Arbor Drowsy Driver Escapes Serious Harm; Most Not So Lucky

Just weeks ago, a woman driving north of Ann Arbor on U.S. Highway 23 toward her hometown of Fenton got a valuable lesson in the dangers of drowsy driving. The woman apparently dozed off at the wheel and her car drifted into the center median, where it flipped over. Remarkably, the woman had only minor injuries, and was not taken to a hospital.

The woman's incredibly good fortune in this crash is even more remarkable in light of recent statistics, which show that drowsy driving is responsible for one in six of all fatal car accidents in the U.S. The study, conducted by the AAA Foundation, analyzed crash data from all 50 states and also surveyed drivers.

The results of the driver survey are a source of concern, as well. Two-fifths of those surveyed admitted falling asleep or nodding off while driving at some point in their lives, and more than a quarter said that in just the past month they had driven despite having difficulty keeping their eyes open. More than half of those who had fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year did so after having driven no more than an hour, demonstrating that drowsy driving can be a problem even on shorter trips.

Crashes involving nodding off at the wheel can often be more severe, as the drivers generally don't do anything to avoid or mitigate the crash, such as slowing down or steering to avoid a head-on collision with a car or other obstacle.

Do your best to avoid driving drowsy, but unfortunately there is little that one can do to avoid being the victim of another driver who chooses to drive fatigued.

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