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Is drowsy driving in Illinois a risk worth noting?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Almost every Illinois resident knows that drunk and distracted driving are illegal, but what about drowsy driving? While the dangers of drunk and distracted driving are likely obvious, drowsy driving is also hazardous behavior that can lead to a serious car accident.

Drowsy driving is not illegal in Illinois, but you should still avoid driving when you are too tired. Sometimes this is unavoidable, such as if you are on a road trip or coming home after a long day at work.

Driving while drowsy reduces your alertness and awareness of your surroundings and causes you to have slower reaction times.

Although drowsy driving is not illegal, it is a form of reckless driving that comes with serious consequences. A driver who falls asleep at the wheel or whose reckless driving causes an accident could face fines or even criminal charges.

Some signs you are becoming too drowsy to drive include daydreaming, frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open. More serious warnings signs include veering into another lane or drifting over to the side of the road.

Avoid becoming a drowsy driver

When you realize you are drowsy, take immediate steps to address the situation. If possible, stop driving for the day or night and start again the next day.

Otherwise, pull over somewhere safe and take a quick 20-minute nap. This is generally all the time you need to regain your alertness and drive safely again.

Drinking coffee or an energy drink also helps but be careful not to drink too much. One cup of coffee or a small energy drink should give you enough energy to finish the drive without the resulting energy crash from too much caffeine.

Eat something before you drive but avoid a heavy meal. This can cause sleepiness after a few hours.

Try to avoid driving in the early morning or late at night. Check the side effects of any medication you are taking to see if they include drowsiness and always avoid alcohol before driving.

What to do after an accident with a drowsy driver

If you are involved in an accident where you believe that it was caused by the other driver’s drowsy driving, proving this can be challenging. In a situation involving drunk or distracted driving, evidence such as blood alcohol tests or text messages sent at the time of the crash can be strong evidence of the other driver’s fault.

However, gathering direct evidence of drowsy driving is often more difficult. Talking to witnesses who saw the other driver’s behavior before or during the accident or video evidence of the accident can help you prove your case.

After the accident, contact the police and get a copy of the police report. Make sure to tell the police that you believe the other driver was drowsy. Take pictures of the scene and any injuries.

Injuries from an accident with a drowsy driver can be serious, take a long time to heal and cause you to be out of work. Personal injury claims in Illinois are based on negligence and proving negligence could mean compensation for these and other losses.