Articles Posted in Tips for Readers

The temperatures are pretty low in Chicago this time of year, and like it or not, that means there is the possibility of significant snowfalls before the winter is through. Our lawyers believe that every person living in the Chicago metropolitan area should be educated on the basics of operating a vehicle in ice, sleet, or snow. What follows is a list of winter driving safety tips, to better keep our readers and those around them safe:
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While many of us dread waking up for work after vacations or weekends and hearing that alarm buzzer sound, most of us have to stick to a schedule for our “daily grind”. That is why we should all get a good night’s sleep. In fact, not only does being well rested increase your productivity and help you create a better work product, but it will make your commute to work a lot safer.

However, there are many conditions and factors that prevent some people from getting the sleep they need to function well at work and safely on the road. Maybe you live in a noisy downtown area and struggle sleeping through the noise of the city and the traffic. Perhaps you have a child whose cries interrupt your sleep in the middle of the night. You might also have a medical condition that stops you from being well rested, having deep sleep, or sleeping long enough.

A recent study revealed that those who suffer from sleep apnea have a more than double the risk of others on the road of a car accident from their drowsy driving. According to an article by Medical Daily, the risks of sleep deprivation are similar to those of alcohol intoxication when driving a car. This means that driving when not properly rested is very similar to getting behind the wheel of a vehicle when drunk. According to the study, people with obstructive sleep apnea were found 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in an accident than people without the sleep disorder. One doctor explained that excessive daytime sleepiness is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, which causes the individual to wake up in the morning feeling tired and unrefreshed despite having slept all night. In fact, insufficient sleep has been classified as a public health epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control, and nearly 40% of people report unintentionally falling asleep at least once per month. That is an especially high percentage, especially when you consider the fact that the once per month or more could happen behind the wheel of a car.
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It may seem like fall has come and gone too fast, but the week of Thanksgiving is finally upon us, and that means we are in the midst of the holiday season. From this point until New Years, many Americans will be enjoying the company of their friends and family, and will be hosting or attending a multitude of get-togethers to celebrate with the ones they love. However, these festivities almost always involve drinking, so it may not come as a surprise when our accident lawyers tell you that it is more dangerous to drive during this time of year than any other.
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Everyone loves going on summer vacations, but before your fun in the sun can start you have to get from point A to point B safely. Every year during June, July and August, thousands of families hit the road for long trips in order to get to their vacation spots, but not all of them take the proper safety precautions to reduce their chance of being involved in a crash. Our car accident lawyers want to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy their summer plans, and we hope that passing along a few important road trip tips will help you and your family do so safely.
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For many people Memorial Day weekend signifies the beginning of the vacation season, and consequently, the summer months are usually indicative of a noticeable increase in the number of vehicles on the road. Statistics indicate that in the coming months, thousands of families will be involved in automobile accidents due to the negligence and recklessness of other drivers, but many more will experience serious accidents as a result of their own failure to take necessary safety steps before and during their trip.

As personal injury lawyers, one of the most important aspects of our work is staying up to date on the latest safety information, so that we can better serve our clients and the public. Whether you are going on a vacation, a road trip, or just commuting to work, a higher volume of vehicles on the road is something that will affect you; with this in mind, here are a couple of tips for prevention and planning to ensure safer travel this summer.
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If you are a parent, it is probably safe to say that your children are a few of the most precious people in your life. Young children are naturally energetic, active, and impulsive, and they don’t always do what is best for their safety, and that is why many parents are extremely protective of their children. However, as is the case for every child, eventually they have to venture beyond your protective bubble in order to go to school, and the statistics regarding their trip there and back may frighten you.

In 2010, one-fifth of all child traffic fatalities under the age of 10 were pedestrian accident related, and most often, these accidents occur during the hours when children were coming home from school. Our lawyers want to debunk some common misconceptions regarding child pedestrians, so you can communicate the facts to your child to better keep them safe.

Myth #1: It is always safe to cross at a green light.

If you live in or around Chicago, I don’t have to tell you that it’s been raining. If you are a duck or a blade of grass, this is great news, but that is only because neither one of them has to commute to work. Yesterday morning, flooding closed the Edens Expressway and forced the shut down of the McHenry branch of the Metra Union Pacific Northwest line. Torrential rainfall has also led to flooding throughout many of Chicago’s northern and northwestern highways and streets, creating significant problems for drivers. Research has shown that roughly one-fourth of all motor vehicle accidents happen during adverse weather conditions, and with over 6 million of them occurring in the United States each year, that’s a lot of crashes. With the 5-day forecast showing 3 days of potential rainfall, our lawyers want to remind you to always drive cautiously, and give you some quick tips to driving in adverse conditions. (Chicago Tribune; Science Daily; The Weather Channel)

Rainfall can cause all sorts of problems on the road, and these kinds of conditions are particularly common during the stormy summer months. Visibility distance can be cut significantly, and car tires are less able to grip the road and brake, leading to higher instances of spinouts and rear end accidents. All in all, nearly 850,000 injuries occur annually because of wet pavement and rain, but some of these accidents can still be avoided. Many drivers, especially the ones that live in the Midwest, know that they need to practice caution in snowy or icy conditions, but a good amount of drivers overestimate their cars ability to handle the rain. It is just as important to control your speed and maintain a safe following distance in the rain as it is when driving in any other kind of adverse condition. Staying a step ahead of everyone else on the road will dramatically lower your chances of being involved in a car accident, especially in the hustle and bustle of highway driving. These things sound simple, but they really can be the difference between getting from point A to point B safely, and ending up in the emergency room. (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Our lawyers have dealt with hundreds of personal injury cases, involving everything from car accidents to medical malpractice. Together, our attorneys and staff bring over 150 years of legal and medical experience to the table, and that is the experience you need when filing a car accident injury lawsuit. If you have to drive in rainy and wet conditions, remember this article, and know that if you should ever be injured in an auto accident, we are always happy to help you get the compensation you deserve.

It’s almost officially summer in Illinois. That means it’s time to shed your pale Midwestern cocoon and become as tan a butterfly as possible before winter comes around again. For a lot of people, this time of year is synonymous with vacation, and getting away from work for a week or two to enjoy yourself, and that means hitting the highway. Everybody needs a little time to unwind, but it is important to remember that the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day often comes with a significant jump in car accidents. Taking preventative measures is much easier than dealing with the consequences of an accident later, so our lawyers have come up with a few useful tips to help keep travelers a little bit safer this summer:

Always Make Sure Your Children Are Safe-Many of the people going on vacation this summer do so with their family, so it is extremely important to make sure that all children are safe and secure. Make sure that if your child meets the height and weight requirements of a car seat, they use one, and remember that it is always safer for children to sit in the back seat.

Pack Your Vehicle Safely-Make sure that you don’t have anything packed into your vehicle that will significantly hinder your ability to see. Additionally, avoid stacking things in the back of your car if the truck is not separated from the interior of the car. In high speed accidents, momentum can turn these boxes and bags into dangerous projectiles.

For most people it’s a no-brainer to change their oil and transmission fluid every once and a while to keep their car running smoothly and safely. However, many Americans neglect to include their tires on this list of periodic checkups, especially in the snowy Midwest. A recent report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that roughly 10% of the United States’ cars are driven with at least one bald tire, and 27% with one or more under-inflated tire. Even more disconcerting is the agency’s finding that a large amount of gas stations fail to provide accurate tire pressure gauges, or have unreliable gages. Tire failures result in far too many motorist fatalities and injuries each year to be ignored, and with a few proactive steps, you can make yourself and everyone around you a little bit safer. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

The “Tire Safety: Everything Rides on It” campaign was launched by the NHTSA in 2001, and is aimed at better informing motorists of the dangers that come with neglecting their tires. The NHTSA’s ads, brochures, and radio commercials have featured various service announcements stressing the importance of proper tire inflation and load limits for different types of vehicles. “It is extremely important to motorists’ safety that they ensure their tires have ample tread and are properly inflated,” said one agency official. “Motorists who drive on tires that are bald or substantially under-inflated risk injuries [and] fatalities.”

If you drive a car that was produced in the last few years, you probably have a tire pressure light on your dashboard, but vehicles are just as subject to malfunction as any other machine. To avoid falling prey to improper readings or faulty gas station gages it may be beneficial to purchase a tire pressure gauge at a local store. It is also important to be able to judge the state of your tire tread without the use of a machine, and you can do this with nothing more than a penny. When placing the coin in the tread of your tire with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you, if you can see the top of his head, it is time to get new tires. It may sound old fashioned, but it works, and doing small things like this can prevent disastrous consequences later.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys were very upset to learn that a shocking number of children struck my cars in the Chicago area were hit near schools. According to the Chicago Tribune, about 1,700 school age children were struck by cars in Chicago within a block of a school, during the years of 2007 through 2011. This is about half of the total number of children that were hit by vehicles in the Chicago area during that time period. The number of incidents where children were almost struck by a vehicle near a school is even higher. The areas that have the highest percentage of school children being struck by vehicles are the West and South sides of Chicago.

Chicago has a higher incidence of children hit near schools than many other major metropolitan areas even though the City of Chicago has tried to implement certain safeguards such as, pedestrian safety programs, stricter enforcement of laws and trying to reduce the level of traffic in these areas. At least in the Chicago area, statistics show that the most common cause of pedestrian accidents are drivers failing to yield in time to avoid an accident.

There is at least one crossing guard assigned to each Chicago public school. When asked, Chicago school crossing guards have said that drivers often honk, swear at them, give them the finger, barely slow down, wait until the last minute to stop and give them impatient looks while stopped to allow the people to cross the street. One crossing guard even said that she has been struck by a car that did not stop when she held up a stop sign to allow school kids to cross. Another Chicago crossing guard stated that she constantly see drivers talking on their cell phones and texting while they are driving through the school zones.

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