This week is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® in Washington State and across the nation.

The campaign is put on by the National Sleep Foundation as a way of encouraging drivers to prioritize sleep and reduce the number of traffic accidents and fatalities that are caused by sleep deprivation.

Spokesperson Kyle Foreman with the Grant County Sheriff's Office says there are a handful of things that can help prevent falling asleep at the wheel.

"A few tips that we can offer to help keep you safe are to prioritize at least seven hours of sleep every day, take regular rest stops if you're on a long trip, and avoid any medication that might cause drowsiness."

Foreman adds that motorists who are fully awake and alert can also help keep the roads safe by watching out for drowsy drivers.

"You'll see characteristics of someone who might seem impaired behind the wheel. You might see them bobbing from the centerline to the fog line or you might see them stop at a stop light and the light turns green and their car just sits there. But they may not be impaired, it might be the fact that they are simply too tired and they fell asleep."

According the the Washington State Department of Transportation's Annual Collision Summary, nearly 3,000 accidents are caused by fatigued or asleep drivers every year in the state.

Depending on the circumstances, anyone who falls asleep at the wheel in Washington could be found guilty of reckless driving or even vehicular manslaughter, if their condition causes a fatality accident.

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