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Daylight Savings can lead to drowsy driving and car accidents

For Californians, Daylight Savings Time is considered a necessary part of the changing of seasons. Some are happy that they have the "extra" hour for the winter. Others are indifferent. However, there are dangers with Daylight Savings Time as it can lead to drowsy driving and car collisions. When there is an auto accident in the weeks surrounding Daylight Savings, it is important that the accident investigation consider drowsy driving as a potential cause.

Drowsy driving is believed by experts to be comparable to driving under the influence. Because there is a change in people's sleep routines, some might find themselves missing out on a precious few hours of sleep leading to them being drowsy during the day. If they are behind the wheel, this can result in a dangerous situation. It is natural for people to continue to wake up at the earlier hour because that is what they were conditioned to do for several months. Missing that hour of sleep could be crucial.

The California Highway Patrol is joining with the National Sleep Foundation to sponsor "Drowsy Driving Prevention Week" for people to be cognizant of the potential problem. In 2016, there were nearly 7,000 accidents because of drivers who were sleepy or fatigued. That was an increase of 48 percent from 2014. An average of 45 fatalities occur every year due to drowsy driving crashes. Research has also found similarities between the way people drive when drunk and when drowsy. Those who have been awake for 24 hours will drive similarly to those who have a blood-alcohol content of 0.10. That is higher than the legal limit of .08.

If a driver finds him or herself nodding off at the wheel or falling asleep and waking up quickly, they are advised to pull over and rest until they can stay awake to drive safely. With this information and Daylight Savings having just passed, any accident can be due to a drowsy driver. When there is a crash, it can result in injuries and fatalities with medical expenses, lost wages and long-term issues for the injured person and their family. A legal filing can be useful to recover compensation after a drowsy driving auto accident. Discussing the case with a legal professional experienced in car accidents can help with the investigation and moving forward with litigation.

Source: mercurynews.com, "CHP warns of drowsy driving with end of Daylight Savings Time," Robert Salonga, Nov. 4, 2017

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