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Time changes can affect driver alertness

Commuters in New Jersey and other areas may wish to take some sound advice by one of the nation's largest travel assistance companies. The advice centers on safer driving and a small lifestyle change. Following it costs nothing and doesn't involve any special equipment.

AAA studies have shown that a time change, such as the switch to Daylight Saving Time, can affect a person's internal clock and affect their sleep pattern. Not only does the person lose an hour of sleep on Sunday, but the Monday morning commute will be darker and have less visibility. Those on the road at sunrise will likely experience a brighter morning sun, affecting their vision of the roadways.

The company recommends catching up on sleep over the weekend and taking to bed an hour earlier for the first few days after the time change. For cyclists and pedestrians, the company recommends the use of reflectors and flashlights to be seen well by oncoming traffic.

Though impaired driving and distracted driving are serious concerns, AAA cites statistics estimating that 10 percent of all traffic accidents involve some form of fatigued driving. Though fatigued driving is commonly associated with the trucking industry, it can occur with any driver, no matter the distance driven. For their own safety and those they share the road with, all drivers should be aware of the potential for driving while sleepy. Taking steps to avoid it can save money, injuries and lives.

In many instances, fatigued driving that causes or contributes to a car accident may be considered a form of negligence. Those injured by another who has fallen asleep at the wheel might consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as is practical after the accident.

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