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You may share the road with more drowsy drivers than you think

When traveling, you may not think too much about the fact that you share the road with drivers of various ages, experience and occupations. All of these and many other factors can affect how these individuals operate their vehicles. One issue that could span across a number of groups and pose a threat to everyone on the road is feeling drowsy while driving.

You, among others, may consider fatigue a hindrance, but not necessarily a threat to safety. However, drowsy drivers can experience impaired abilities that could easily lead to a car accident.

Who poses this threat?

Though anyone who does not get enough restful sleep could become a drowsy driver, some groups more commonly have issues regarding feeling drowsy while behind the wheel. Those groups include the following:

  • Individuals with sleep disorders that may prevent them from getting restful sleep. For instance, untreated sleep apnea makes a person seven times more likely to fall asleep while driving.
  • Employees who work night shifts have a six times greater risk of drowsy driving.
  • Young people under the age of 26, particularly males, also pose a greater threat of driving while fatigued or sleepy.
  • Individuals who travel for business also experience this issue due to jet lag that makes them sleepy or spending several hours driving.
  • Commercial drivers are also at risk of drowsy driving. In fact, 15% of commercial truck crashes have fatigue as a factor.

Sleep loss can result from a number of causes, and while some of these listed here are occupational-related, other causes include sedating medications, consuming alcohol when already tired, lifestyle choices, poor sleep, continually accumulating sleep debt and many others.

What can you do to prevent drowsy driving?

You certainly do not want to cause a serious accident because you are not well rested. Make sure that you are not fatigued before getting behind the wheel by making sure you get enough sleep, ensuring you do not take medications that cause drowsiness or do not drive if you do, never drink and drive, and plan long drives during the day and not during the late afternoon or night when you would normally sleep.

Of course, someone else may not take these precautions, and you could suffer injuries after that driver's drowsiness causes an accident. If this happens, you may want to explore your legal options for obtaining compensation for damages allowable under Ohio state law.

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