The Johnson Law Firm, LLC

Motor vehicle accidents from drowsy driving linked to time change

Missourians often view the time change that happens every spring where the clocks are moved an hour ahead as a regular part of life. They might think that it is nothing to be concerned about except for a lost hour of sleep. However, this time shift is a bigger worry. This is because research has shown how the "spring forward" can place people in danger due to drowsy drivers.

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says that changing time in accordance with daylight savings can disrupt a person's internal clock. Without proper time to adjust, sleep patterns can be interrupted and take time to regulate. This can prove to be especially dangerous when drivers get behind the wheel before their internal systems have recalibrated. The study found that those motorists who drive in the early morning and rush hours following a time shift are at an increased risk of being involved in an accident. Those driving in the early-morning hours of 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. are at greater risk because the biological cycle is the lowest it will be all day.

Keeping track of possible symptoms of drowsiness when behind the wheel is wise. These symptoms include having difficulty maintaining a lane, feeling fidgety while driving, head swaying, yawning, eyelids closing slowly, and having trouble maintaining speed and reactivity. Circumstances are also key. Driving in a straight line, driving for an extended period, and driving in heavy traffic can make a person drowsy.

While distracted and drunk driving seem to take up a lot of attention when it comes to preventable car accidents drowsy driving is also a problem and is particularly dangerous in the time immediately after the clocks have been changed. A crash caused by a drowsy motorists can lead to medical costs, lost income from being unable to work, long-term injuries with accompanying physical limitations, and even death. Regardless of how these accidents are caused, a law firm that has extensive experience in helping people after motor vehicle accidents can assist victims in determining the best path forward in their search for accountability and compensation.

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