Many people in Wisconsin and elsewhere live stressed, sleep-deprived lives. Aside from the health complications this can cause, not getting enough sleep can also be dangerous if you get behind the wheel. Before you make your holiday travel plans, you should learn about drowsy driving.

The National Safety Council has designated November 3 through 10 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week this year. While official reports cite about 100,000 crashes resulting from fatigued driving, officials from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety believe the number of sleep-related car accidents to be more than 328,000 in the country each year. Thousands of people are injured or killed in drowsy driving crashes annually. You are, in fact, three times more likely to be in a car accident when you are tired than when you are driving after being well rested.

The signs of being too tired to be safely behind the wheel include yawning too much, drifting out of your lane, having trouble keeping your eyes open, nodding off, missing a turn or road signs and not remembering the last few miles you drove. The best way to avoid a drowsy driving crash before traveling is to get enough sleep the previous night. You will also want to avoid driving after taking medications that cause sleepiness and to address any sleep issues with your doctor. It can also help to take someone with you on a trip who can switch places driving, or to stop to stretch your legs or take a nap if you find yourself becoming sleepy behind the wheel.

You may take the steps to improve your own safety, but you cannot always predict the actions of others on the road. Therefore, this information is not intended as legal advice.