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Time change could lead to increase in drowsy driving

California readers know the time change that occurs in the spring every year means one less hour of sleep for drivers. Less sleep means that a person could get behind the wheel of a car while too tired to be safe. According to AAA, the time change could mean more drowsy drivers on the road, and drowsy driving always leads to an increased chance of an accident.

Drowsiness is a major concern for motor vehicle accident safety. It is one of the most underreported causes for car accidents, mostly because people find it embarrassing to admit they were too tired at the time of an accident. Victims of drowsy driving are victims of the negligent and reckless actions of another person, and they have grounds to seek financial compensation for their injuries and losses.

Drowsiness: an often overlooked danger

People do not always report drowsy driving because drivers do not want to admit when they cannot safely operate a vehicle due to exhaustion. It is impossible to accurately test for tiredness or measure how tired a person is. Unlike alcohol in a person's system, there is no test for sleepiness. However, there are clear signs a person may be too tired to drive safely. Some of these indicators include the following: 

  • Swerving
  • Driving at erratic speeds
  • Drifting from lane to lane

It is possible that a person may not realize he or she is not in a position to drive safely, particularly after losing an extra hour of sleep because of the time change. You may not realize the severity of the problem until you are a victim of drowsy driving. While many people consider distracted driving and drunk driving to be the two biggest threats to motorist safety, it is important not to overlook this issue.

Statistics indicate that as many as 35 percent of drivers operate a vehicle after getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. As many as 29 percent of drivers admit to operating a vehicle while having difficulty keeping their eyes open due to exhaustion.

What are your rights as a victim?

If you are a victim of drowsy driving, you may be dealing with extensive pain and suffering through no fault of your own. While nothing can reverse what happened to you, you may be able to claim financial compensation for your accident-related losses and needs. A personal injury claim is an appropriate course of action for victims of reckless or negligent driving.

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