Daylight saving time leads to greater risk for car crashes

West Virginia residents should know that losing one hour of sleep for daylight saving time can have consequences on the road. Namely, motorists will be more likely to drive in a drowsy state of mind. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that missing one or two of the suggested seven hours of sleep within a 24-hour period can roughly double the risk for a car crash.

AAA even says that sleeping only five hours within the past 24 hours will create the same level of impairment as that of a drunk driver. The organization therefore recommends drivers to adjust their sleep schedules for daylight saving time. There is no remedy for drowsiness but sufficient sleep.

In a AAA survey, 95 percent of respondents acknowledged that drowsy driving is unacceptable and unsafe. Yet in that same survey, three in 10 admitted that at least once in the previous month, they had driven while finding it difficult to keep their eyes open.

Drooping eyelids are just one warning sign of drowsiness. Continual yawning, trouble recalling the last few miles traveled and lane drifting are others that drivers should recognize. AAA states that short-term solutions like drinking caffeinated drinks or rolling down the window are not effective. Drivers should pull over for a nap rather than resort to these tactics.

Drowsy driving is a form of negligent driving. Drowsiness impairs judgment and slows reaction times, thus endangering others on the road. When it is behind an accident, those who are injured may be eligible for compensation. West Virginia allows victims who are less than 50 percent at fault to recover damages. Actually recovering damages from the at-fault party's auto insurance company is another matter and may require hiring a lawyer. If negotiations fail, the lawyer may pursue the case in court.

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