When it's time to "spring forward" the clocks in March of each year, many people complain of the inconvenience of "losing" an hour of sleep. Unfortunately, the loss of sleep can be more than just a frustration; studies show that it can increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents for drivers in Virginia. That's why AAA is reminding drivers that not getting enough sleep can double their chances of causing a crash.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that found that drivers require at least seven hours of rest each day to be alert. Getting an hour or two less than the recommended amount increases the risk of an accident by double. Additionally, the data shows that drivers who get five hours of sleep or less have a crash risk that is similar to that of a drunk driver.
Other organizations agree. The National Sleep Foundation has found that drivers who have had less than two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period are unfit to operate a vehicle. Though AAA surveys have found that 95 percent of people believe that driving while drowsy is a safety hazard, many people still drive while fatigued anyway. Some signs that a driver is too tired to drive include not being able to keep his or her eyes open, not remembering the past few miles driven and drifting into other lanes.
People are encouraged to go to bed earlier when the time changes for daylight saving time. If a motorist doesn't get enough sleep and drives while drowsy, he or she poses a threat to others on the road. A lawyer can help a motor vehicle accident victim determine if legal action is warranted. If a negligent driver caused the crash, they may be responsible for damages to the injured parties.