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AAA: drowsiness a hazard of daylight saving time

Drowsy driving is a major issue throughout Missouri and the rest of America. In a AAA survey, three in 10 respondents admitted to driving at least once in the past month in such a sleepy condition that they had trouble keeping their eyes open. In that same survey, however, 95 percent said they consider drowsy driving to be unacceptable.

The issue becomes heightened after daylight saving time since drivers "lose" one hour of sleep due to the time change. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recommends that drivers adjust their sleep schedules prior to daylight saving time. Adequate sleep is the only remedy for drowsiness.

Everyone should rest at least seven hours every night, experts say. Missing one to two hours of that minimum within a 24-hour period can nearly double one's chances of a car crash, according to AAA. Moreover, to sleep only five hours in a 24-hour period will create roughly the same level of impairment as that experienced by a drunk driver.

The warning signs of drowsiness include trouble keeping eyes open, swerving out of lanes and the inability to remember the past few miles one has traveled. When these symptoms emerge, it's best for drivers to get some sleep. They should not rely on short-term tactics like drinking caffeinated beverages, singing or opening the car windows.

Drowsiness can be prevented, and those who do nothing about it will be to blame for any car crashes they cause. Fatigued driving, unlike speeding or drunk driving, can be difficult to determine since drivers may easily lie to the police about their drowsiness. Still, it can form the basis for an auto accident claim. Victims, for their part, might want to consult with a lawyer about their eligibility for damages and the amount they could possibly recover.

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