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Daylight Savings Time reminds us: Beware of drowsy drivers

You've likely been looking forward to springtime. Even in southern states, winter takes its toll. For many, spring becomes reality when Daylight Savings Time takes effect. Turning the clock ahead, though, also means an hour of lost sleep.

Turning clocks ahead typically increases the number of drowsy drivers on the road. You might be wide awake and aware of your surroundings but have no way of knowing if another driver is nodding off at the wheel. Sharing the road with drowsy drivers places you at great risk for collision and personal injury and it's a growing problem across the country, even well after Daylight Savings Time takes place.

Personal action improves safety

Whether drivers are tired from a time change, from a newborn baby at home or from overtime hours at the plant, the simple fact is that many people get behind the wheel without the recommended amount of sleep. You can try some of the tips included on the following list to help avoid drowsy driving trouble:

  • If you're traveling as a pedestrian at dusk or later, makes sure to wear brightly colored clothing or reflective materials to make yourself more visible to motorists.
  • As a driver, it's a good idea to stop for a rest after every 100 miles or two hours of consecutive travel.
  • Eating heavy foods can cause drowsiness. Avoid such foods before driving, especially when you are suffering from lack of sleep.
  • Try to go to sleep an hour earlier when you expect a time change.

Many of these tips are relevant to travel at any time but can be particularly helpful when Daylight Savings Time rolls around each year. Intersections, highway mergers and parking lots are especially dangerous locations. Drowsy drivers often exhibit similar behaviors as those acting under the influence of alcohol. Lack of sleep prompts an inability to think clearly, which means they might make a sudden lane change or drift into oncoming traffic.

If you suffer an injury in a drowsy driving accident

Impaired cognitive ability places drowsy drivers and all those nearby at great risk for collision. If a drowsy driver hits you and you suffer injury, the highest priority at the time is to obtain medical attention as soon as possible. Police, rescue workers and other responders help make sure you get the care you need. Beyond that, you might need physical therapy or have to take time off work in recovery.

Such issues often prompt financial distress. As a result, many Missouri accident victims seek restitution in civil court by filing personal injury claims against those who caused their injuries. When the court awards compensation for damages, plaintiffs can use said monies to help offset accident-related expenses.

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