Sleepiness, distractions and road rage create highway hazards

Drivers in Missouri have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely. The causes of many accidents arise from behaviors that represent reckless personal choices. To improve safety, people should monitor themselves for drowsiness, avoid smartphone distractions and stay calm even when annoyed by other drivers.

Drowsiness impairs drivers by slowing their reaction times and decision-making abilities. When people notice themselves yawning excessively, nodding off or swerving, they should stop to take a nap or at least consume a caffeinated drink. Regular sleep, however, works best. An injury prevention researcher pointed out that drivers who only sleep four or five hours increase their risk of being in a crash by 5.4 times compared to those who sleep at least seven hours.

Distracted drivers also cause accidents. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that nine people die every day because of distracted drivers. That's why people should resist the urge to read text messages and engage with social media while behind the wheel.

Aggressive driving associated with road rage endangers motorists as well. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that almost 80 percent of survey respondents admitted to losing their tempers while driving. These emotional reactions often trigger hazardous behaviors like tailgating and speeding.

When reckless actions lead to car accidents, the victims could pursue financial damages. A person with questions about how to seek compensation for lost income and medical expenses could reach out to an attorney. An attorney could identify insurance coverage for responsible parties and collect evidence about the nature of the crash. After filing documents with a court, the lawyer could meet with an insurance adjuster and challenge attempts to pay a low settlement.

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