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Turning clocks back increases the risk of traffic accidents

At the beginning of November, daylight saving time came to an end in Massachusetts, making days shorter and disrupting sleep patterns for area residents. Unfortunately, this can lead to an uptick in car accidents.

According to AAA, turning the clock back can interrupt drivers' circadian rhythms and change their normal sleep cycle, which can make them sleepy behind the wheel. The National Sleep Foundation reports that over 6,400 people are killed and 50,000 are injured in drowsy driving crashes across the U.S. each year. To help prevent such accidents, traffic safety advocates say it's important for drivers to go to bed at the same time each day and make sure they get adequate sleep before operating a vehicle.

Days are also shorter after the clocks turn back, meaning that people drive more miles in the dark each day. Darkness can make it harder to see other cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists and increase the chances of a collision. To help mitigate that risk, safety experts say that drivers should clean their windshields and headlights on a regular basis, which will help them see objects on the road more clearly. They should also keep their speed down and remember to always yield the right of way to pedestrians. In addition, if another car is stopped at a crosswalk, drivers should never attempt to pass it.

People who have been injured in a car crash caused by the negligence of another driver might need expensive and lengthy medical care and treatment. They might find it advisable to have the help of an attorney when seeking compensation for their losses.

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