You may be enjoying the extra 60 minutes when daylight saving lets you sleep in. But don’t forget when you’re at the steering wheel how this shift in time could cost you your life. Losing one hour of sunlight in the afternoon has been linked to the cause of many road accidents. Darkness brings the risk of poor visibility, and the change in time schedules makes you still behave as if there is daylight.
The Research and Findings
In “Spring Forward at your Own Risk: Daylight Savings Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes”, a study by Austin C. Smith at the University of Colorado Boulder, a total of 302 deaths over a ten-year period were found during the first few weeks of daylight saving. But it doesn’t take a scientist or researcher to know that daylight savings cause us significant disruption in our sleep cycles.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied those who sleep an average of six to seven hours a night and found that they are at double risk for traffic accidents than those who got a full eight hours of sleep. They noted that over 250,000 drivers were found to have dozed off at the wheel for a split second during daylight saving time—an alarming number.
Statistics published by the National Sleep Foundation also show that 71 percent of adults in America have to drive to work and back, and the majority of them get alarmingly drowsy when at the wheel. About four percent of those questioned admitted driving drowsily—not just once in a while, but every single day!
Peak Times of Traffic Accidents
Ever wondered at which time the most traffic accidents occur? Here are the findings: The most crashes and accidents happened at three different time slots: 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., midnight to 2 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
So you may be alert, but if you drive at these times, it’s best to remember the multitude of other drivers who may be dealing with the unpleasant tiredness that is caused by daylight saving. When you aren’t rested enough, or your sleep schedule has been thrown off its normal routine, your driving ability is seriously impaired. This can be just as dangerous as “distracted driving,” an offense that is punishable by law in some states.
Tips for Safer Driving
Don’t be afraid to pull over and take a break if you drive for long periods of time—especially in the night. Take naps in between, stretch your legs or get fresh air. It’s worth being alert and saving your life! If you find that constant lack of sleep impairs your own driving ability, it’s recommended that you simply go to bed an hour earlier every night. Try to anticipate what your body will do—or won’t do—and be prepared for the outcome.
Be Prepared At All Times
In the event that you have a brush with the law due to driving hazards caused by daylight saving, the next best thing you can do is to have a attorney handling auto accident cases you can call on at all times.
If you’ve been in a car accident, hiring an attorney will allow you to deal with all the other matters in life without having to worry about compromising your legal claim. Call the Mann, Wyatt & Tanksley for advice about your auto accident claim today.