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Watch out for car crashes as daylight saving time ends

Drowsy driving is a major hazard on roads in California and across the country. Unfortunately, the problem becomes worse when daylight saving time ends each year, according to traffic safety advocates.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that over 6,400 Americans are killed and 50,000 are injured in drowsy driving car accidents each year. This occurs even though a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey found that 96% of U.S. drivers identify drowsy driving as a top roadway safety hazard. Studies show that setting clocks back an hour can increase fatigue-related crashes by interrupting the sleep patterns of drivers, making it harder to concentrate and stay alert behind the wheel.

A study by the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia found that the average number of late afternoon motor vehicle accidents increases during the two weeks after the end of daylight saving time. To help lower the risk of drowsy driving collisions, safety advocates say drivers should try to go to bed at the same time each night and make sure they get enough sleep before operating a vehicle.

Turning back the clock also means the sun goes down an hour earlier, forcing many people to commute in the dark. This can make it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, bikers and other vehicles. To avoid this added crash risk, safety advocates urge drivers to turn on their headlights at dawn and dusk, regularly clean their headlights and windshields to increase visibility and always yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Victims of drowsy driving or distracted driving car accidents might be able to obtain financial compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. A law firm could assess a victim's case and help prepare a personal injury lawsuit on his or her behalf.

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