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Published February 07, 2013, 05:07 PM

Three percent of Minnesota drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - You're behind the wheel, the highway stretching out in front of you when you start to doze off. Sound familiar?

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - You're behind the wheel, the highway stretching out in front of you when you start to doze off. Sound familiar?

New research shows that three percent of Minnesota drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel in the past 30 days.

If you passed 30 cars on the road today, chances are at least one of those drivers was nodding off.

In 2007, this Minnesota State Trooper was seriously injured when a semi driver fell asleep at the wheel and careened into his squad car.

Sgt. Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol: "Several times, when I've been following a vehicle you see that weaving within the lane. You start wondering, is it a medical situation? Is it somebody that's texting and driving, distracted driving? Or is it an impaired driver? But a lot of times we see it's just somebody that's tired."

Commercial drivers are among the people most at-risk to falling asleep while driving. Larry Christensen says long hours on the road can make it difficult to stay alert.

Larry Christensen, Truck Driver: "At this stage of the game, for me, I don't fight it. I take a little nap. Sometimes, I take a long nap."

But it can happen to anyone.

Back in October, this car rolled into the ditch when the man behind the wheel fell asleep. He escaped with only a scratch on his finger but some aren't so lucky. One in 40 fatal crashes are caused by a driver dozing off.

Many sleepy drivers will try to stay awake by turning up the radio or rolling down a window. But the CDC says those tactics usually don't work.

Grabow: "Find a safe place to pull over. Find a place to rest that's safe to do so. Don't put your schedule ahead of safety. Again, good common sense when you're driving and if you're feeling tired, do pull over."

The national average for sleepy drivers is a little higher, at four percent.

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