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How daylight saving time can heighten car crash risk

Residents of New Jersey who feel drowsy after daylight saving time should know that this can increase their risk of a car crash. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety upholds the opinion that everyone should sleep at least seven hours each night. The organization found that those who miss one to two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for an auto accident.

Even more startling, AAA says that those who sleep only five hours in the previous 24 hours will drive like one who is drunk; the level of impairment is similar in both cases. Despite the risks, drowsy driving continues to be an issue. Three in 10 respondents to a AAA survey said that they drove at least once in the past month in such a tired state that they could hardly keep their eyes open.

In the same survey, 95 percent of respondents acknowledged that drowsy driving is unacceptable and dangerous, so awareness seems not to be an issue. Still, AAA wants drivers to know what the signs of drowsiness are. They include lane drifting, drooping eyelids, continual yawning and an inability to remember the last few miles traveled.

Drivers can pull over for a nap after experiencing these signs, but more importantly, they should adjust their sleep schedules. Remedies like drinking coffee are only effective in the short term.

A negligent or reckless driver can cause car accidents, but victims should know that they may be eligible for compensation under this state's personal injury laws. In a two-car crash, one may recover damages when deemed 50 percent or less at fault. The filing of the claim, though, is another matter since auto insurance companies can be aggressive in denying payment or getting victims to agree to low-ball settlements. For this reason, victims may want to hire a lawyer.

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