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Daylight saving time may boost car crash risk

Changing clocks ahead each year can mean more for people living in West Virginia than simply missing out on an hour of sleep. The American Automobile Association (AAA) points out that missing a few hours of sleep or more nearly doubles a driver's risk of experiencing a crash. The motor club association further asserts motorists need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night to drive safely, which is why they urge drivers to give themselves time to adjust to daylight saving time before getting back behind the wheel.

The National Sleep Foundation believes individuals running on less than 2 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period are unfit to drive. AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety research goes further by suggesting that drivers who get less than 5 hours of sleep are just as likely to be involved with a collision as someone driving while impaired by alcohol. Insufficient sleep may also affect a driver's heart health enough to contribute to an accident.

Almost all drivers surveyed by AAA agree that drowsy driving is "completely unacceptable." Yet 3 out of every 10 of the surveyed drivers admitted they had driven while tired enough to barely keep their eyes open within the past month from when they were questioned. AAA warns drowsy drivers that short-term solutions like drinking coffee or rolling down windows to get fresh air won't cut it. AAA insists that the only effective antidote for fatigue is getting more sleep.

Witness accounts of drifting between lanes is just one possible piece of evidence a lawyer may consider if a motor vehicle accident may have been caused by a negligent drowsy driver. If serious personal injuries were sustained due to the actions of a fatigued driver, an attorney might seek compensation for medical expenses and related monetary losses.

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