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Today, October 12, 2009, we are reminded how dangerous, and deadly, a driver’s inattention or inability to stay awake and alert behind the wheel can be. Tragically, the lives of four motorists, including three women from Ohio, were taken today in a head-on collision near Barndall, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol identifies the dead as 69-year-old Christine Fulghum, 85-year-old Martha Jacobs and Lavonne Gantt all of Toledo, Ohio, and 84-year-old Norma Otterstetter of Southgate, Mich.

The three Toledoans were traveling in a van on State Highway 11 near Barndall, Oklahoma around 4:30 P.M. when a pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction collided with their van head-on. Early reports indicate that the driver of the pickup truck fell asleep in the moments before the collision.

more and more we hear stories and news coverage about people texting while driving or otherwise engagning in activities that undoubtedly distract them from their driving. In addition to inattentiveness, however, drowsiness or falling asleep behind the wheel is still the most dangerous of all.

The U.S. National Safety Council offers the following suggestions to avoid drowsiness while driving:

1) Get plenty of sleep before your trip. Stick to a regular sleep schedule.

2) Try not to drive between midnight and 6 a.m.

3) Try to take long trips with someone else, and switch drivers regularly.

4) Get on the road early in the day, and keep the car nice and cool to help you stay awake.

5) Make frequent stops — about every 100 miles or two hours. Walk around, get a little exercise or have a snack.

6) Practice good driving posture — head up, shoulders back and knees bent at about a 45-degree angle — to help you stay awake.

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