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Daylight saving time increases car accident risk

Drivers in California and around the country need to get enough sleep in order to safely operate their vehicles. Unfortunately, daylight saving time cuts into the sleep time of many drivers, making it more likely they could get into a crash, according to researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

AAA says that people need at least seven hours of sleep every 24 hours to be safe drivers, and research shows that missing just two hours of sleep can double the risk of getting into an accident. Further, the organization also reports that people who get five hours of sleep have a crash risk similar to that of drunk drivers. Meanwhile, the National Sleep Foundation has determined that drivers who get less than two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period are "unfit" to get behind the wheel.

AAA found that 95 percent of drivers believe that drowsy driving poses a great threat to public safety, but almost 30 percent of all motorists admit to engaging in it in the last 30 days. Meanwhile, daylight saving time makes it even more likely that drivers will miss needed sleep before getting behind the wheel. In order to avoid falling asleep and causing a crash, drivers need to know the warning signs of drowsiness. These include the urge to close one's eyes, drifting from one's lane and being unable to remember the last few miles driven. Drivers who experience any of these symptoms need to pull over and get some sleep.

Victims of drowsy driving car crashes could be owed compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, and other damages. An attorney familiar with motor vehicle accident litigation could first attempt to obtain a settlement from the at-fault driver's insurer. If the amount offered is insufficient, a lawsuit might be advisable.

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