February 9, 2012

Illinois Auto Accident Lawyers Provide Tips on How to Avoid Driving Drowsy

by Levin & Perconti

Our Chicago auto accident lawyers thought that it would be a good idea to go over some of the general causes of accidents this week, starting with drowsy driving. Drowsy driving occurs when a driver is fatigued, sleepy, or exhausted and has a low level of alertness while driving. This can even include falling asleep at the wheel. DrowsyDriving.org says that “Nearly one-quarter of adults say they know someone personally who has crashed due to falling asleep at the wheel.” This statistic alarmed us and we thought we could offer some tips on how to avoid driving drowsy.

Some warning signs of becoming drowsy include heavy eyelids and head nodding. Yawning frequently, as well as difficulty keeping eyes open occurs. Difficulty focusing, not staying cognitively aware on the road, missing exits or sigs, drifting lanes or hitting a rumble strip, or feeling restless are all signs that the driver is drowsy. Before getting on the road, you should make sure that you have had a good night’s rest, and during long road trips should schedule breaks, about every 100 miles or so, to make sure that you are ready to continue the next leg of the trip. Also, having someone ride with you in the car can help keep you awake and alert, and can also share the drive with you. A Chicago car accident attorney at our firm also wanted to mention that drivers should never drink alcohol or sedatives before driving because they can make the driver impaired and sleepy as well.

If you are driving, and are feeling drowsy, some steps to avoid falling asleep = include stopping the car and pulling over, finding a rest stop or pulling off the road and taking a nap, or drinking a caffeinated drink. However we must note that caffeine is never a substitute for sleep. If you know in advance that the trip is a long one, you should plan places to stop before beginning your drive. If there are many hours left in your trip and you feel sleepy, staying in a hotel or motel for the night and getting a full night’s sleep is the best solution. Young people, people who work long hours, commercial drivers, people with undiagnosed or untreated issues such as sleep apnea, and business travelers who could have jet lag, are the most at risk for driving drowsy. Given this information, people inthese groups should pay special attention to staying alert when on the road.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may be able to file a lawsuit and seek fair compensation. Accidents of this nature can be serious and lead to expensive medical costs, as well as a temporary or even permanent absence from work. Please contact an Illinois auto accident attorney of ours to see if we may be able to help you.