Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

Car crash risk goes up with daylight saving time

Most Michigan residents know that experts recommend a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. However, with daylight saving time, many will lose an hour of sleep and become drowsy in the daytime. Combine that with driving, and the chances of an accident spike. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, missing one to two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period actually doubles the risk for a crash.

One who drives after only five hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours will be as impaired as a drunk driver is behind the wheel. This startling observation, also made by AAA, should encourage drivers to adjust their sleep schedules for daylight saving time. There is, after all, only one solution to drowsiness: adequate sleep.

Many rely too much on short-term tactics like drinking caffeinated beverages, playing music and rolling down the windows. Eventually, the body's need for sleep will overpower the mind's attempt to stay awake. Drivers should pull over for a nap once they start to experience the signs of drowsiness, which are lane drifting, droopy eyelids and trouble remembering the previous few miles traveled.

A recent AAA survey showed that 95 percent of drivers understand the danger of drowsy driving. In that same survey, though, 30 percent said they had driven at least once in the past month in a severely drowsy state.

In the event that a car accident is caused by a drowsy driver, a victim may pursue a claim with the at-fault party's auto insurance company. A personal injury claim, if successful, can usually cover losses like medical bills, vehicle damage and pain and suffering. It may be a good idea to have a lawyer work on the case, negotiate for the settlement and litigate on the victim's behalf if the other side refuses to pay out.

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