Safety authorities say for a while after the clocks are turned back when Daylight Savings Time ends, the number of drowsy driving incidents on the nation’s roads, including New Jersey, increases each year. Although many people enjoy that extra hour of sleep, others will find themselves driving to work in the dark. It takes most people some time to adjust to the changes, and car accidents are reportedly more prevalent during this time.
The glare of oncoming headlights can cause moments of temporary blindness for drivers in the dark. Also, their peripheral vision, color recognition and depth perception are typically compromised. The National Safety Council says a significant number of drivers say shift work, long work hours, low quality sleep and sleep disorders have caused them to drive while drowsy, and some even admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigued drivers cause tens of thousands of car accidents. The National Sleep Foundation says most auto accidents and near-misses happen in the hours between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., midnight and 2 a.m., and 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. — the hours when many drivers are tired and drowsy. The NHTSA also says the risks posed by drowsy driving is similar to driving while impaired because the effect of giving up two hours of sleep is the same as drinking three beers.
Drowsy drivers risk not only their own lives but also other road users. Victims of car accidents that were caused by drowsy drivers might have grounds to pursue claims for financial relief. However, proving such negligence could be challenging and might be best achieved by an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney.