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End of daylight savings time can mean drowsy drivers and crashes

It is coming up to that time of year again when most of the country will be adjusting their clocks as daylight savings time comes to an end. One good thing about adjusting our clocks this time of year means we will “fall back,” meaning we can enjoy and extra hour of sleep on the first Sunday in November. However, there has been a drawback to all this clock adjusting, an increase in car accidents

Besides the clocks adjusting, which takes some time for people to get used to, we are losing daylight. If you have been driving home from work in bright sunlight all summer, you may now be driving home while it is dusk or when it is completely dark. This can naturally make you more tired and at risk for causing a deadly accident.

Driving drowsy has become a big problem in the United States. Longer work schedules, second jobs and the kid’s soccer practice are all making for long days and sleepy people out on the roads. When you drive drowsy, you pay less attention to the road and your reaction time slows down dramatically. An overly tired driver also does not have the ability to make proper decisions. How bad has drowsy driving become:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2013, there was an estimated 72,000 car crashes that resulted in 44,000 injuries and 6,400 deaths due to drowsy driving.
  • It is also reported that just in the last 30 days, 1 in 25 adults will fall asleep while driving.

Obviously, a couple of weekends during the year when we adjust the clocks is not the only time people are driving drowsy. But it is a good time to discuss the consequences and the dangers of crashes attributed to fatigued drivers. If you experience any of these warning signs while driving, you should refrain from driving immediately:

  • Yawning with watery eyes and excessive blinking
  • Not able to remember the last few miles you drove
  • Missing a turn or exit
  • Drifting away from your lane
  • Constantly fighting yourself to stay alert

California in recent years has seen an increase in crashes with drowsy or fatigued drivers, in 2016, there were 6,930 collisions which resulted in 47 deaths attributed to sleepy drivers.

If those numbers do not wake you up to the dangers of drowsy driving, then know that the CDC has reported that staying awake for 24 hours will have the same effect on a person who has a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

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