The twice-annual time change in the United States has given people many grievances over the years, so much so that the Senate recently voted to pass legislation on making Daylight Savings Time permanent. Supporters had many reasons to back this bill (expected to be voted on by the House in the next legislative season), primarily focusing on the impact of these time changes on safety.
Every year, there is a direct correlation between the “spring forward” time change and an increase in car accidents. A recent study found that this shift contributes to a 6% increase in traffic fatality risk each year. One of the biggest reasons for this increased risk is the impact that Daylight Savings Time (DST) has on driver fatigue.
DST and Its Impact on Driver Fatigue
When we “spring forward” and lose an hour of sleep, it can take a few days for our bodies to adjust to the new schedule. This can result in drowsy driving, which is a major contributor to car accidents. Drowsy driving is responsible for about 100,000 crashes each year, resulting in 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths.
There are a few other factors that play into the increased car accident risk during Daylight Savings Time. The change in daylight hours can also cause disruptions to our natural body clocks, or circadian rhythms. This can lead to problems with focus and concentration while driving. For people who already have difficulty regulating their sleep schedule (such as shift workers), DST can be especially disruptive.
Staying Safe on the Road After a Time Change
So, what can you do to stay safe on the roads following a time change? First, make sure you get enough sleep in the days leading up to it. If you’re feeling tired, take a break from driving or switch drivers if possible. It’s also important to be extra vigilant in the first few days after the time change when everyone is still adjusting to the new schedule. And finally, keep an eye out for other drivers who may be experiencing fatigue. If you see someone driving erratically, give them a wide berth and report it to authorities if necessary.
Car Accident Attorneys in Louisiana and Texas
When you’ve been in a serious car accident, you don’t have to handle it alone. The attorneys at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers can help ensure that you have the tools necessary to take on the at-fault individual and their insurance company. Get started with a free consultation today by calling (318) 221-1508.