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Daylight saving time means greater risk for car crashes

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has some startling statistics about drowsy driving that residents of New York will want to keep in mind, especially when daylight saving time robs them of an hour of sleep. Experts recommended at least seven hours of sleep each night. Someone who misses one or two hours of sleep within a 24-hour period nearly doubles their risk for a car crash.

Moreover, the level of impairment suffered by a driver who only sleeps five hours in the previous 24 hours is about equal to that of a drunk driver. In a recent AAA survey, 95 percent of respondents said they were aware of the dangers of drowsy driving. Yet 30 percent admitted to driving at least once in the past month in a condition where they could hardly keep their eyes open.

Droopy eyelids, constant yawning, lane drifting and the inability to remember the previous few miles of travel are basic warning signs of drowsiness. However, many drivers endanger themselves and others on the road because they place too much trust in short-term remedies like drinking caffeinated beverages and opening the windows.

AAA therefore advises drivers to adjust their schedules so that daylight saving time does not leave them feeling drowsy behind the wheel. Sleep is the only solution to extreme drowsiness.

Those who choose to drive drowsy are being negligent. Any time driver negligence is behind an auto accident, a crash victim who's not to blame becomes eligible for compensation. Since filing a personal injury claim can be a complicated process, a victim may want to see a lawyer for a case evaluation. Legal counsel may help with negotiations and litigation.

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