AAA warns against health risks of daylight saving time

Drivers in California should be aware of one health risk associated with daylight saving time: increased fatigue. Everyone should sleep at least seven hours, and losing one hour may lead to impairment behind the wheel. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that those who lose one to two hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours nearly double their car crash risk.

In fact, those who drive after sleeping only five hours in a 24-hour period will be as impaired as a legally drunk driver. AAA warns drivers that sleep is the only remedy for fatigue. Therefore, drivers should adjust their sleep schedules whenever daylight saving time rolls around.

Throughout the year, drivers should always watch out for the warning signs of drowsiness, which include drooping eyelids, constant yawning, lane drifting and the inability to recall the past few exits or the past few miles one has traveled. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore these signs. In a AAA survey, 3 in 10 respondents said that at least once in the past month, they had driven while so tired that they had trouble keeping their eyes open.

Many drivers rely on remedies like drinking coffee or rolling down the window. These are short-term treatments, and the body will eventually override these attempts to stay awake. Drivers might consider pulling over for a nap.

If drivers become negligent behind the wheel and cause a crash, their auto insurance company will likely have to face a claim from the victims. Victims, for their part, may want to see a lawyer about their eligibility and how much they could potentially recover. A successful claim might cover things like medical expenses, vehicle damage and lost wages. Victims may leave all negotiations to their lawyer and litigate if negotiations fall through.

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