More than 1/3 of all drivers in the US have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel, and more than 20% of all fatal auto accidents involve drowsy driving. Missing just two hours of sleep (subtracted from an average of seven hours) can make you four times as likely to get into an auto accident, compared to those who get at least seven hours of sleep. If you get less than four hours of sleep, then you are twelve times as likely to get into an auto accident. In fact, when someone gets no more than five hours of sleep, they are just as dangerous as if they were drunk. This is because drowsy driving causes you to think less clearly, harms your reaction time, and makes you more prone to distraction, or even falling asleep at the wheel.
Common Characteristics of Drowsy Driving Auto Accidents in Columbus, Ohio
While every auto accident has its own unique factors, there are some very common characteristics seen in the majority of Columbus, Ohio auto accidents that involve drowsy driving. For example, these collisions are most common in the hours after midnight and in the hours of mid-afternoon. There is often evidence that the at-fault driver did nothing to prevent the accident, seen in the absence of skid marks and witness testimony that the driver did not try to steer or brake to avoid the accident. This is usually seen in cases where the driver actually fell asleep, so they did not realize that an accident was about to occur.
These accidents often occur on highways at a high speed, and are frequently very serious in terms of injuries, property damage, and fatalities. This is also likely due to the fact that the driver fell asleep and was not conscious to do anything to prevent or minimize the impact. It is also very common for drowsy driving accidents to involve just one vehicle, that of the drowsy driver, which drove off the road, into a ditch, or into a tree or structure. Finally, these accidents usually occur in cases where the drowsy driver is the only person in the vehicle, so there was nobody else to notice and wake them up, though there are also cases where others in the vehicle were also asleep. This is especially common in cases where drivers are driving long hours while travelling long distances, such as a road trip or vacation.
Who Is At Greatest Risk of Causing a Drowsy Driving Accident in Columbus, Ohio?
The individuals who are at greatest risk of causing a drowsy driving auto accident in Columbus, Ohio are between the ages of 16 years old and 29 years old, so are often new drivers. People who have conditions like sleep apnea and narcolepsy are also at greater risk of causing such accidents, especially if they have not been diagnosed and are not aware of their condition.
Those who work odd hours, such as third shift workers, are also at greater risk of causing a drowsy driving accident, as are those who work very long hours or who work irregular hours or multiple shifts. If the person’s sleep schedule is frequently disrupted by odd hours, this creates a significant hazard and likelihood of a drowsy driving accident. Then, there are the people who suffer from side effects associated with prescription medications. This can include antihistamines that are taken for nasal congestion or allergies, certain antidepressants, and other medications that list drowsiness as a side effect. When a person is affected by multiple factors, such as age, odd hours, and/or medication, this multiplies their risk.
Providing Evidence that a Columbus, Ohio Accident was Caused by Drowsy Driving
In any auto accident, you’ll need to have evidence of who was at fault, meaning that you’ll have to know what caused the incident and be able to prove it. When the accident is caused by drowsy driving, there are a few different ways to prove this. One example is the lack of skid marks and witness testimony that the driver did not make an effort to prevent the accident. If a driver is coming at you head on and makes no effort to turn, brake, or slow, then this could be because the driver has fallen asleep at the wheel. You can also produce evidence based on the medications that the driver was on, the hours they were working, and any diagnosis of sleep apnea or narcolepsy, for example. In cases where the driver is a commercial vehicle driver, you can also find evidence of their logged hours and their last rest.
Avoiding Drowsy Driving Auto Accidents in Columbus, Ohio
The best thing that you can do to avoid a drowsy driving auto accident in Columbus, Ohio is to recognize when you are too tired to keep your eyes open, and pull over. If you are traveling long distances, then you may need to stop at a motel for the night. If you are working odd hours, then you may need to call home and let your loved ones know that you are too tired to keep driving, and take the time to rest. You may be able to get someone to come get you, or you may simply need to pull into a safe place, and take a nap before getting back on the road. If you take medications, be aware of what the side effects are, and don’t drive until you know how you are affected by those medications. In some cases, it may be necessary to change your work schedule or arrange for transportation that doesn’t involve you driving while drowsy.
Were You Injured in a Drowsy Driving Auto Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a drowsy driving auto accident in Columbus, Ohio, contact the dedicated Columbus, OH car crash legal team at the Chester Law Group to schedule a free consultation and get the representation that you need to prove liability and recover the compensation that you are owed for your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages that you’ve sustained. We know what you’re going through, and we are here to help you every step of the way.