Can Daylight Savings Time Increase Your Car Accident Risks?
Spring is the time of year when we ‘spring ahead’, moving our clocks forward one hour to take advantage of increased daylight hours. While this means it will stay light out for a longer period of time, it also means that it will likely be still dark when you are headed off to work in the morning, which can increase your car accident risks. Studies show that this is not the only way that daylight savings time can prove dangerous for drivers and it is important to be aware of the effects it can have on you at this time of year.
Daylight Savings Time and Drowsy Driving Accidents
Daylight savings time went into effect on March 10, 2019. For most people, one of the biggest impacts is the lost hour of sleep that results. While this seems relatively minor and easy to eventually adapt to, researchers claim it can have major impacts on your body and your driving abilities.
According to U.S. News & World Report, studies suggest that the changes in ambient light can cause a disruption in sleep schedules, leaving people feeling tired and out of sorts for weeks after daylight savings time takes effect. Researchers point to the surge in serious and life threatening car accidents which happen each year in the aftermath and blame drowsy driving as the cause.
Those who drive for a living, such as truck drivers and delivery people, and those who are required to be on the job early in the morning are most at risk. Common effects of drowsy driving include:
- Visual impairments, such as blurred vision and difficulty with headlight glare;
- Diminished awareness, which Increases your risk of being distracted behind the wheel;
- Slower reaction times, which can make it harder to adjust to unexpected situations and sudden changes in traffic conditions;
- Increased yawning and the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.
Protecting Yourself Against Drowsy Driving Accidents
A March 10, 2019 Business Insider report states that the potential risks for drivers during daylight savings time are so severe, it is one of the reasons some states are seeking to do away with the practice. Florida is one of those with pending legislation, though it has yet to pass Congress. In the meantime, you can take the following steps to help decrease your risks:
- Insomnia may be a problem, but aim to go to bed early each night as you adapt;
- When driving, keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road at all times;
- Be alert to signs that other drivers are struggling, such as not maintaining proper speed or swerving in and out of their lane;
- Be particularly cautious around trucks and give them a wide berth when passing.
Let Us Help You Today
When drowsy drivers leave you suffering serious damages, the Law Firm of William E. Raikes, III, provides the trusted legal representation you need to get compensation for your injuries. To discuss how we can help you, contact our Fort Pierce car accident attorney and request a consultation.