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Drowsy Driving and Fatal Car Accidents

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Each year, almost 328,000 motor vehicle accidents involve a drowsy driver.

A recent study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety presents startling facts about drowsy driving. Researchers studied 14,268 motor vehicle accidents and drowsy driving was a factor in 6 percent of car crashes. The study also revealed that drowsy driving was a factor in 7 percent of car crashes that caused injuries and in 13 percent of fatal car crashes. Each year, almost 328,000 motor vehicle accidents involve a drowsy driver.

Signs of Drowsy Driving

Adults in the age group of 18-29, adults with children at home, shift workers, and people with certain health conditions such as sleep apnea are more likely to become drowsy while driving. In order to prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving, you must identify the signs of drowsy driving. If you exhibit or experience any of the following signs while driving, get off the road, drink a caffeinated beverage, and get some rest.

  • forgetting the last few miles you drove
  • daydreaming
  • yawning
  • blinking or trouble keeping your eyes open
  • drifting out of the lane and onto the shoulder

Prevent Drowsy Driving

There are some simple things that you can do to prevent drowsy driving:

  • Get sufficient sleep before you hit the road. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • When on a long drive, alternate drivers if possible.
  • Drink a caffeinated beverage such as coffee.
  • If you feel drowsy, stop driving and take a nap.

Missed Sleep Increases Car Accident Risk

Car accidents can occur due to a variety of reasons ranging from distracted driving, drugged driving, drunk driving, reckless driving and aggressive driving. One common cause of car accidents that is often overlooked is drowsy driving. While it is hard to believe that lack of sleep can cause an accident, but this happens more often than you can think. In fact, a recent study has shown that missed sleep can significantly increase the risk of an accident. In this post, Chicago auto accident attorney will discuss the key findings of this study.

According to a recent study conducted by AAA, car accident risk doubled when drivers miss even an hour to two hours of sleep in a day. This finding is significant considering the fact that 35 percent of the drivers across the U.S. already sleep less than the recommended seven hours a day. This means, drowsy driving is a serious danger for everyone on the roads.

Interestingly, drowsy driving is in some way or the other responsible for one in five fatal accidents each year in the United States. The recent study shows that risk of being involved in a drowsy driving accidents increases significantly with every missed hour of sleep. Here are the key findings of the study.

  • One or two hours of missed sleep doubles the accident risk
  • The crash rate quadruples if the driver gets only four-five hours of sleep in the night
  • Those who drive on four or less hours of sleep, are at an 11 times higher risk of a crash. This is same as driving drunk.

Falling asleep while driving is not the only problem that occurs when drivers fail to get adequate sleep. According to AAA, drowsy drivers tend to be too tired to keep their vehicle in the lane, can exhibit tunnel vision, and have slower reaction times. This makes them dangerous drivers, and they can cause serious accidents.

In a poll 97 percent of the drivers admitted that drowsy driving is unacceptable, but a third of drivers also admitted that they have been drowsy while driving at least once in the past one month.

Chicago car accident lawyer believes that it is extremely important for drivers to be aware of the signs and symptoms of drowsy driving as it can help avoid accidents and prevent injuries and fatalities. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Vehicle drifting between lanes
  • Difficult keeping eyes open
  • Difficulty remembering the miles driven

These are just some signs that you are drowsy, however, you there are other signs that may tell that you are too tired to drive. If you notice any such symptoms, just pull over, take some rest, drink a cup of coffee, and then resume driving.

The Risks of Drowsy Driving

According to experts, waking up early could affect a person’s risk of getting injured in a car crash.

It is no surprise that waking up early could lead to fatigued driving, and waking up very early could lead to grogginess that can seriously impact a person’s ability to drive. Studies involving truck drivers have shown that truck collisions occur more often early in the morning and late at night, which is partly due to fatigued driving.

Teen Drivers and Sleep Patterns

Experts and researchers believe that waking early can have a particularly big impact on teenage drivers as hormonal and biological changes can bring changes in their sleep patterns. This means teens are more fatigued and biologically inclined to fall asleep and wake up later. However, when teenagers have to wake up early they tend to feel especially fatigued. If they are driving themselves to school, fatigued driving could be a serious problem.

Preventing Drowsy Driving

Many students have to start getting ready before 6 in the morning in order to reach school in time. This can lead to sleep deprivation and fatigue. Researchers believe that severe sleep loss can increase the risk of poor school performance, sports injuries, and traffic accidents. Severe sleep loss can also have long-term effects such as metabolic problems, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Here are some tips to prevent car accidents caused by drowsy driving:

  • Go to sleep earlier if you have to wake up early for school or work.
  • Give yourself enough time to wake up fully in the morning before you get behind the wheel.
  • If you often find yourself fatigued during the day, seek medical advice as it could be due to an underlying medical condition.
  • Rely on carpooling or public transport in case you are feeling to tired or sleepy.
  • Practice better time management.
  • Get adequate rest. Do not push yourself too hard and try to eliminate all unnecessary tasks from your routine.

Danger of Drowsy Driving

Fatigued driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Fatigue and sleepiness affect cognitive function, ability to drive, and response time just as alcohol does. Fatigued drivers are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel and lose control of their vehicle. Resulting accidents are often serious leading to severe injuries and even death.

Daylight Savings Time Accidents Can Be Fatal

When you’re up and about later, be extra careful when behind the wheel of your car – or when walking down the street.

When you turn your clock back to Standard Daylight Time at 2am on Sunday, November 3rd, enjoy that extra hour’s sleep. But when you’re up and about later, be extra careful when behind the wheel of your car – or when walking down the street. Either way, you’re at increased risk of getting into a fatal car accident.

A seven-year study of nationwide traffic fatalities by researchers at Carnegie Mellon showed that during the initial few weeks after the return to standard time, there’s a 300% greater chance of pedestrians being struck and killed by cars.  They found that the most risky time of day is 6pm, when you’re 3 times more likely to be hit by a car.  Children, the elderly, and cyclists are at the greatest risk.

What causes this increased risk?

Researchers say that it’s not so much the darkness itself that results in accidents, but drivers’ slow adjustment to the earlier nightfall.  Drivers returning home from work or  engaging in their usual patterns are unaccustomed to driving in the dark in early evening, and may not take the safety precautions that they would later in the winter once they’ve become more accustomed to the dark.

Others say that the reason for the jump in fatal car accidents has to do with an increase in fatigue. Yes, we’re getting an extra hour sleep when the clocks fall back, but many people don’t actually use that extra hour to sleep. Instead they use that hour to extend their awake time and are therefore more sleepy the next day.

People may also feel more fatigued after the return to standard time because of the psychological effects of it getting dark earlier.  We see that it’s dark outside and we start to feel tired, even though we ordinarily might not at that hour.

What can be done to increase our safety?

  • Get some sleep.  Make sure that you get plenty of rest during the weeks following the return to standard time.  When you’re sleepy, you’re less likely to be alert – a dangerous thing for either a driver or a pedestrian.
  • Drive slower.  Cut your speed at dusk, particularly in school zones, near playgrounds or in areas of heavy congestion or foot traffic.  Make a special effort to scan for pedestrians in the low light.
  • Do not drive – or walk – distracted.  Drivers should not chat on the cell phone, send or read text messages, read a map, or adjust your navigation system while the car is in motion.  It’s simply too dangerous.  Pedestrians also should remain attentive while on the streets.  Don’t walk while texting, and if listening to music through headphones, keep the volume low enough to remain alert to the sounds around you.  Be especially careful not to walk distracted at intersections, as that’s when the most accidents occur.
  • Turn on your headlights. Drivers sometimes forget to turn their headlights on after the return to standard time, which reduces visibility.  As soon as the darkness begins to fall, make sure that your headlights are switched on.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothes.  If it’s your habit to talk a walk or cycle in the evenings, make sure that you wear brightly-colored clothes that are easy to spot in low light.  Parents should add reflective strips to their children’s clothing or make sure they wear a reflective vest or cap when playing outdoors or talking a walk in early evening.

Compensation for Injuries

Drowsy driving can affect your judgement and reaction time. It reduces performance and may make a driver more aggressive. Drivers who drive while drowsy are often found guilty of gross negligence in car accident cases. If you or your loved one has been injured by a drowsy driver, seek legal help from a Chicago auto accident attorney to make sure you get adequate compensation for your injuries. Call Willens Injury Law Offices at (312) 957-4166 for a free consultation.

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Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You Navigate Your Injury Case

Willen’s Injury Law Offices’ Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers have varied and extensive experience with personal injury law, from both sides of the aisle, is a true asset for their clients. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys not only have years of litigation and negotiation experience working for victims of accidents or negligence, but they also have Matthew L. Willens’ background as a former insurance company executive. 

Additionally, another accident lawyer at the firm, David Baez, spent the first part of his career as a defense attorney who represented insurance companies. As the firm’s clients sometimes say, “It’s like they know the other side’s playbook!”

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Client Reviews

Willens Injury Law Offices was highly recommended by a friend. Upon my initial consultation, David was very friendly yet profesional. He was able to get a favorable result, I will definitely recommend him to my family and friends. Thank you!
Lucia R.
19:41 08 Apr 21
When I got into my accident in 2018, I was 18, I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. David worked with me and made sure I was taken care of all the way to the end. He fought for my case and made sure I got the settlement I deserved. Definitely will be recommending the Willens office to my friends and family .Thank you!!!!
Emmalee R.
19:51 23 Nov 20
I 100% back this firm. I was in an accident that caused me some injury that needed medical attention. I reached out to Willens Law Offices to assist since I noticed a large amount of overwhelmingly positive reviews. Believe all the positive ones!!This firm is very professional and helpful from the beginning to end. They look out for their clients, and do their best to achieve 100% client satisfaction. If you consult with them to help, you will not be unhappy at the end.I want to give a huge shoutout to David Baez who assisted my throughout the entire case. I highly recommend him and this firm.Please note, if you utilize them and don't hear back a lot during the case, don't be alarmed. They will reach out to you when the time is right. They are not neglecting you, they are working hard day in and day out to resolve your case.1 Million % recommended!!!!!
Michael R.
18:42 13 Jun 20
It's been over a year since I was involved in my car accident - everyone knows that is a very stressful time for the injured party. I considered going through the whole process on my own but I quickly realized the insurance company was NOT my friend. I reached out to Willens Law Offices, met Matt and the attorney that would be handling my claim, David Baez. David was excellent, I'm big on communication and anytime I texted David; sometimes ad nauseam, he would always respond quickly and professionally. I had a ton of questions, and David answered everyone of them to my satisfaction. I could not have asked for a better attorney to fight for me, I have extremely high expectations and they were exceeded consistently.
Edmond P.
15:33 28 Apr 20
Reliable, efficient, & informative. Personable yet professional, Willens office took care of my every last need & then some!!
Kyle M.
15:35 10 Apr 20
I got into a car accident a couple years back, I didn’t know what to do so I researched on Google then found Willens law office. At the time it was new to me but after they help me out, guided me, let me in the right path and I haven’t been happy here ever since because justice was served! Thank you Willens coming from the Herrera family
Jose H.
18:38 03 Apr 20
I had an accident injuries and based on google reviews I reached out to Willens Law Offices in Chicago. David Baez helped me with my case. He came to meet us and understood our case in detail and he guided me all the steps of the process. I had advices from friends that you are unnecessarily going after the process and nothing will happen. David made everything worthwhile and he gave right advice always which was right for my health and right for the case. He worked very hard on my case for 2 years collecting all the paperwork, talking to physicians and taking care of my case and making it in my favor. I was truly blessed by having David Baez handling my case who was extremely professional, great ethics and felt as my family with him. After the injuries and pain I was afraid to select one but my God made me select the right one. If anyone feel they need accident injuries lawyer then I will only recommend David Baez. Nobody will beat his hard work, professionalisms, ethics and perseverance and yet down to earth and honest. Thank you for everything you have done for me and blessings from my heart for his success.
Mamta S.
14:25 06 Mar 20
David A. Baez at Willens Law office has been fantastic to work with. Very professional, informative and responsive to all questions. Hopefully I don't get into another car accident but if so I will call the Willens Law Offices asap.
steve B.
17:33 10 Dec 19
The initial impressions I had of this place turned out to be false, and I am thankful that I am pursuing the case with Mr. Willens. He is pretty incredible at what he does.
Donald B.
08:05 27 Nov 19
I can only say good things about Mr. Willens. He was fantastic, Aside from his awesome expertise, he is very down to earth and make you feel like family! HE TRULY CARES! Always eager to help and make himself available at every point of time. Thank you Matt again for everything!
Arthur L.
10:27 25 Nov 19
Truly passionate about their clients. Professional and easy to work with.
Peter W.
11:01 22 Nov 19
I came across Willens Law Offices after searching endlessly for a law firm to represent me in my personal injury case. I was well accommodated and he made me feel at ease, you truly feel like he will go the extra mile for you from the moment you hand the case over to him until the very end. I highly recommend this firm to anyone looking for representation!
Edna S.
10:05 20 Nov 19
If I ever find myself needing another law firm I will not hesitate for a second to contact him!
Micheal E.
10:12 18 Nov 19
I was involved in a car accident and was having trouble getting compensated for the amount I felt I should get. I contacted Willens Law Offices through a referral, worked with David Baez and had a very good experience. They helped educate me on the process along with helping me get what I deserved. I would HIGHLY recommend contacting them if you are involved in an accident.
mohsin M.
19:38 15 Nov 19
His staff was always so nice and friendly and responded promptly if I ever had any questions. I'm very thankful to come across them and will highly recommend them!
Rodrick M.
10:04 15 Nov 19
I'm sending a special thanks to Matt for working patiently and closely with me regarding the status of my case till the end. I can't recommend him highly enough.
Randy D.
14:08 13 Nov 19
Throughout the process of the case, he did an exceptional job. The entire process was extremely smooth and the staff kept me up to date on the status of my case. I give him 5 stars as he is the best legal attorney there is in the greater Illinois area. He truly deserve it.
Regina B.
15:40 11 Nov 19
I just want to thank Mr. Willens for being extremely reliable and diligent. He was able to adequately answer all my questions and concerns. He settled my case rather quickly. I will definitely recommend him to friends and family.
Bernadette F.
15:43 08 Nov 19
I was involved in a bad accident with multiple cars and I was in a terrible shape. Matt Willens handled my case exceptionally. Everyone that helped was also great! he was detailed and clear in all our communication and he always made sure I was aware of everything that was going on throughout my whole case. Really helped me get through a rough time. I am 100% satisfied with the outcome of my case. If you need a good lawyer on your side, look no further!
Laura W.
14:49 06 Nov 19
Willens Law Office handled my accident and they were incredible! Matt drove all the way to see me and I could see he really cared. He handled my injury case from start to finish and I’m now rebuilding the part of my life that I lost. Thanks for your help.
Todd Z.
05:55 11 Oct 19
I was involved in an accident back in last year and was searching for an attorney who looked like I can trust. I found Matt Willens and I am thankful. I called him up just to get a feel for him as a person and I could tell right away that he truly cared, not only about me but my family too. To say that he fought for us would be an understatement. He was ready to go to trial! Luckily we settled and it was for more money than I imagined, especially after my initial talk with the insurance company. Thanks Matt!
Paula D.
13:14 10 Oct 19
Matt Willens went above and beyond for my case. I felt as though he cared more about me and my situation than he did himself and the time that he was required to spend on my case. I highly recommend using him.
Marci P.
13:24 03 Sep 19
It was great to work with this firm. They handled every piece of paperwork. David Baez handled my case. He kept me informed through the whole process and treated me like family. I highly recommend David and the entire firm.
John C.
14:42 16 Aug 19
Willens Law is a firm I trust in because they specialize in personal injury matters. I have had a wonderful experience with Matt WIllens personally and I can say he is pleasant to work with and communicates thoroughly with his clients. I would recommend Willens Law.
Grant V.
05:28 19 Jul 19
I’m rarely compelled to leave a review for anyone but I felt I needed to show my gratitude.From the first time I spoke with Matt Willens on the phone I actually felt like he was there for me, looking after my best interests and not his own. That’s rare in my experience.Matt is an absolute pro and I wouldn’t think to call or recommend anyone else if I or a loved one were injured in the future. Thanks Matt!
Kyle W.
04:16 19 Jul 19
When I first contacted Willens law office, I just wanted to make sure everyone was paid after I was rear ended and I wasn’t the one doing it. My correspondence was primarily with David, he was always patient when I was slow to get him information and ended up calling me with great news after almost a year of back and forth with the at-fault insurance company.I can’t thank David and the Willens law office enough.
Amanda H
18:36 14 Jun 19
Willens Law Office is GREAT! David handled my case. He made me feel like family. He explained everything in detail every step of the way. He fought to get the results that would best benefit me. David is a great attorney. Thanks David and the Willens Law Office family.
Michael S.
17:53 31 May 19
Willens Law came highly recommended after I was badly injured when hit by an out of control car. I in turn most highly recommend Willens Law based on my great experience over the past year and a half.I am very pleased with both the outcome of my case as well as the experience working with Matt Willens and David Baez throughout the process.I had no specific expectation regarding a case outcome, seeking only ‘the best outcome possible.’ I certainly believe my case outcome was a great outcome. And I strongly believe that outcome was a direct result of fantastic work done by Matt and David.From beginning to end Matt and David were great to work with. They did a great job setting expectations; explaining what was to happen, including the why and the how; guiding me through the steps I needed to take; and answering both my “need to know” and “just curious” questions. They were always extremely prompt and clear in their guidance and responses to me.A silver lining in a tough situation was working with Matt and David, both of whom I came to respect professionally and like personally. I do most highly recommend Willens Law to others who may need such services.
18:55 22 May 19
Willens Law Offices is simply the best!!! David handle my case , and was nothing but professional! He is the best at what he do!!!!!Every step of the way, I was informed of my case!!!Thanks again!!
cassandra J.
17:55 26 Mar 19
Great team, did me right, pleasurable experience.
Robert P.
03:34 21 Feb 19
David Baez was prompt and professional in answering all of my questions.
Richard D.
00:19 07 Feb 19
David Baez was very professional, helpful and always kept me informed about my case. David responded quickly to any questions I may of had. I highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury case. Thanks again David for all the great work you did.
21:39 06 Nov 18
After being in an Uber accident about a year ago, I reached out to Willens Law to assist me through the settlement process. I had the pleasure of working with David Baez. From the start he was very personable and professional. He was always willing to educate me on the process and made sure I understood each step before going forward. Even after receiving my settlement, David has been willing to assist with any questions related to my case. I would highly recommend Willens Law.
Madelyn D.
02:47 05 Oct 18
I reached out to Willens Law Offices following a car accident that my girlfriend and I were involved in, and we met with David Baez for an in-person consultation shortly after. David was very personable and knowledgeable, and gave us confidence and peace of mind in a situation where we felt initially felt completely overwhelmed. There were times when we felt the communication could have been more proactive, but David was always responsive when we felt the need to check-in, even if there were no significant updates on our case. The process took a little longer than anticipated, but David was honest, thorough, and professional throughout.Overall, great experience and I'd recommend to anyone in need. Thank you David!
Geoff B.
20:44 17 Sep 18
After I was injured, and after researching Chicago's best law firms, I found Willens Law and read their reviews. After meeting Matt, I retained their services, along with the special efforts of his Partner, David Baez.They handled my case in a professional, efficient manner, while keeping me regularly informed. We worked incredibly well together, and won a very nice settlement. You would be foolish not to consider Willens Law for your Counsel, as I did. I highly recommend them!Ed Dybas
Ed D.
21:26 07 Sep 18
We had a very positive experience and felt their representation was very effective.
Kent M.
22:43 29 Aug 18
Working with Willens Law was a pleasure. They were responsive and extremely pleasant whenever I had questions or concerns. In my case, I personally took a little longer than I should have to start the process on my end, but David was able to pickup on my delay and process my personal injury case in a timely manner. I would highly recommend Willens Law and David when looking for an attorney to represent you in a case.
Maggie O.
14:07 23 Jul 18
I had a tremendous experience with this law firm, and I would highly recommend them. I had a bicycle injury caused by a negligent Uber car, and when I was first doing research and calling law firms all over the Chicago area to find representation, Matt Willens himself returned my call personally within ten minutes. I found that to be a huge integrity move as every other firm I contacted had a lower level employee call me back. Nothing wrong with that per se, but to have the lawyer whose name is on the door personally return my call meant a hell of a lot to me and was ultimately why I decided to meet with them first.I made an appointment and met Mr. Willens and the fantastic young attorney David Baez in their offices and they were wonderful to deal with. They are down-to-earth, funny, intelligent, tenacious, capable, experienced lawyers who explained the entire process to me in a way I could understand and made me feel comfortable and confident, and we were off and running with my case.I work in a law firm and I know exactly how slowly the wheels of justice turn, and my case was settled in about half the time that these things normally take! Amazing results. Mr. Baez and his team were incredible throughout and kept me informed every step of the way, and negotiated a higher settlement number and a lower fee for the insurance company in the eleventh hour which meant more money in my pocket!! I wholeheartedly recommend this law firm for your personal injury case. They are highly skilled and I couldn't be happier. This organization is fantastic and they will produce results for you.
15:01 05 Jun 18
Matt has been there for us every step of the way. He, personally, has taken the time to answer all of our questions. We never feel like we are bothering him or pestering him. We have only experienced patience and professionalism from both Matt and his team.
Maribeth C.
15:45 03 May 18
David was very good at keeping me up to date with what was going on and helping with every step throughout the entire process. I could not have asked for better representation.
Jennifer B.
21:14 24 Apr 18
David Baez was an excellent representation of the Willens Law Office. He achieved my desired result along with keeping me updated during the entire process. Very fortunate to have him by my side - thank you David.
keith B.
19:29 20 Apr 18
Matt is an impressive attorney and person! Took on State Farm and won for me. Highly recommend Matt for PI cases.
Danielle B.
22:47 10 Apr 18
This Law firm has been very prompt and kind in dealing with my case. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who needs injury lawyers.
F Z.
22:45 10 Apr 18
I used Willens Law for a personal injury claim. Matt was knowledgeable and professional. He also responded quickly which I really appreciated. I would definitely recommend.
Robyn R.
21:44 29 Mar 18
After a bad auto accident, and months of rehab, Matt Willens and his staff worked with me as though they were part of my family. They were professional, courteous and looking out for my best interest during the entire legal process. I would highly recommend Willens Law Offices for any personal injury.
dan B.
19:27 25 Mar 18

What Types of Cases Can Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Injured in an Accident? Give Us a Call Today: (312)-957-4166

Do I Really Need a Personal Injury Attorney to Handle My Case?

You are not legally required to have a personal injury attorney to handle your injury claim. You could file all the necessary paperwork yourself and represent yourself in court. However, your chances of winning your case and getting the compensation you deserve are much higher if you hire an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Why You Shouldn't Settle Directly With An Insurance Company

Insurance providers will try to get you to settle quickly. In the midst of your crisis, they might offer you what seems like a large dollar amount. The problem is they rarely make an offer of settlement for the true full cost of your damages. Don’t be misled, hospital bills aren’t the only things for which you will need compensation. You also need to keep in mind the suffering and pain associated with your traumatic event. 

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The Chicago personal injury lawyers of Willens Injury Law Offices respond to frequently asked questions related to personal injury, car accidents, medical malpractice, and workers’

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