Most of us have driven while we were sleepy at one time or another. However, recent studies show that driving while drowsy is much more common and dangerous than previously thought.

A 2010 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drowsy driving was a factor in one in six deadly crashes. Drowsy driving was also a factor in one in eight crashes in which a vehicle occupant was hospitalized. These numbers are much higher than previous estimates.

According to the study, sleepiness can cause drivers to have slower reaction times, impaired vision, and delays in processing information. Previous studies have found that being awake for more than 20 hours can cause an impairment equal to a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, or the equivalent of being legally drunk.

About one-third of Americans have admitted they have fallen asleep behind the wheel in the last year. Over half have said they have driven while drowsy. Shockingly, over a quarter of adults have admitted to driving despite being so tired they had trouble keeping their eyes open in the previous month.

Experts recommend that you quit driving if you have trouble focusing, keeping your head up, an inability to remember the last few miles driven, if you are yawning repeatedly or are missing exits or traffic signs. If you are exhibiting those behaviors, stop driving and if possible, take a short nap. Drinking caffeinated beverages can also help.

Have you been involved in a Dallas accident that was caused by a sleepy driver? If so, contact Dallas automobile accident attorney Kris Barber at the Barber Law Firm at 817-527-8833 to explore your legal rights.