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Daylight saving time raises risk for car accidents

Drivers in New York should be sleeping the recommended seven hours every night, or else they run the risk of becoming drowsy behind the wheel. This is a particular danger after daylight saving time since drivers lose a crucial hour of sleep. For this reason, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recommends that all drivers adjust their sleep schedules beforehand.

If drivers miss one to two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, they nearly double their risk for a car crash according to AAA. The safety organization also compares drowsy driving to drunk driving: Those who sleep only five hours in the previous 24 hours will be as impaired as a legally drunk driver.

Only adequate sleep can dispel drowsiness. Drivers are discouraged from relying on short-term tactics like drinking coffee and rolling down the window as the body will eventually override these attempts to stay awake. Drivers may want to take a nap once they recognize the warning signs of drowsiness, which include drooping eyelids, lane drifting and an inability to recall the last few miles one has traveled.

Awareness seems not to be the problem since 95 percent of respondents to a AAA survey said they consider drowsy driving unacceptable. However, 3 in 10 admitted to driving drowsy at least once in the past month, so negligence is a constant problem.

Those who are involved in an auto accident and who are deemed by the courts to be less at fault than the other driver may consider filing a personal injury claim. This is where a lawyer may be of help, hiring investigators to obtain the police report in addition to any eyewitness testimony or physical evidence at the crash site. The lawyer may be able to negotiate for a fair settlement or speak in the courtroom if negotiations fail.

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