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Change to standard time may lead to drowsy driving

With the end of daylight saving time, Connecticut residents get to enjoy an extra hour of sleep, but there is a downside. The body will not be able to adjust at first to the change in sleep patterns, which means that feelings of drowsiness will appear for at least a couple days after the change. This can spell trouble when residents go out on the road.

Every year in the U.S., there are roughly 328,000 drowsy driving-related car crashes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, these crashes result in some 6,400 fatalities and 50,000 debilitating injuries each year.

AAA warns drivers not to stay up late the night before DST ends. Advocates say that it's best for people to go to bed at their normal time. AAA's 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index revealed that most drivers are aware of the danger of drowsy driving. In fact, 96% of respondents claimed that they were. However, 27% admitted to driving at least once in the past 30 days in such a state that they could hardly keep their eyes open.

The safety organization is also warning about another well-known danger -- night driving. After DST ends, the sun will set sooner, so many will find themselves commuting home in the dark. This endangers drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

When drowsy driving leads to car accidents, it can open up the way for victims to file a personal injury claim against the guilty driver's insurance company. Victims can be denied payment or forced to accept a low-ball settlement, though, so it may be wise to hire a lawyer. The lawyer may, in turn, hire investigators to build up the case and show that the defendant was drowsy or negligent in some other way. Legal counsel could then handle negotiations.

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