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AAA: end of DST linked with rise in drowsy driving

In AAA's 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, 96% of respondents said they consider drowsy driving very or extremely dangerous, yet 27% admitted they had trouble keeping their eyes open while driving at least once in the past 30 days. Residents of New Jersey should know that drowsy driving, a form of negligence, is behind some 328,000 car crashes every year in the U.S. Of these, 109,000 end in injuries and 6,400 in death.

AAA has continually warned drivers about the danger of drowsiness, which can reduce alertness and slow one's reaction times, and the organization says that the end of daylight saving time will lead to even more drowsy drivers on the road. The reason is that despite the extra hour of sleep one gets, the change disrupts the body's internal clock. As the body readjusts, a person will naturally feel sleepy.

Some people make the mistake of staying up late the night before DST ends; this only contributes to the drowsiness. Another contributor is night driving. When DST ends, the sun will set sooner, and many people will find themselves driving back home in the dark. Night driving puts drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists in danger because of reduced visibility. Drivers can avoid accidents, though, if they use their headlights, not their high beams when around vehicles and pedestrians, and simply slow down.

Drowsy driving is preventable, so if drivers take no precautions and wind up causing auto accidents, they will be at fault. All the parties involving in a crash should be filing with their own auto insurance company. New Jersey being a no-fault state, only those who incur a severe injury or disability can take the next step and file against the responsible driver's auto insurance company. To see if they can file a third-party insurance claim, victims may consult a lawyer.

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