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The CDC warns all drivers in Colorado and throughout the U.S. against heading out on the road while drowsy. Drowsiness increases the risk for a crash because it hinders one’s ability to concentrate, make correct judgments and react to dangers. Drowsy driving crashes are behind some 6,000 fatalities every year.

Lack of sleep can cause drowsiness; adults are meant to sleep at least seven hours a night, and teenagers need at least eight hours. Other times, one may become drowsy by taking certain medications without checking the label. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea are another cause. More than 70 million Americans are said to have a sleep disorder. Drinking alcohol and working a late shift can be contributing factors, too.

Even if a driver has a regular sleep schedule, no sleep disorder and no need for medications that might induce drowsiness, it’s still important to know what the symptoms of drowsiness are. They include frequent yawning and blinking and the inability to maintain one’s lane. One may miss an exit or turn or fail to remember what the last few miles traveled were like.

Let’s say that drivers are on a long trip. If drowsiness hits them, they should ideally pull over for a short nap or change drivers. Rolling down the windows and playing loud music never help.

Drowsy drivers who cause auto accidents can be held liable, and victims who wish to file a claim can do so against that driver’s auto insurance company. Sometimes, it can be hard to prove that the defendant was drowsy since even the police at the crash site may have been unable to detect it. While this will not make the case impossible to pursue, it will present difficulties that victims may want to tackle with a lawyer.