Daylight Saving Time Causes Rise in Car Accidents
The crossover to daylight saving time (DST) is on the horizon but so is an anticipated rise in car accidents. According to a recent study published in Current Biology, the risk of serious and fatal car accidents increases an average of six percent during the week that DST occurs. Approximately 28 fatal car accidents happen across the United States as drivers lose an hour of sleep when clocks are pushed forward in the spring. On the Monday following DST movement of the clocks, car accidents increase as much as 17 percent.
How Does Daylight Saving Time Affect our Body?
Losing an hour of sleep does not seem like a big deal to most people, but when a large portion of Americans lose an hour of sleep on the same day, there can be serious consequences. The following list contains negative effects of DST:
- Rising an hour earlier for work on the Monday following DST throws our internal alarm clocks off, making us more prone to early morning sluggishness and drowsiness.
- Drowsy driving is becoming a main factor in serious car accidents. Drowsiness following the switch to DST leads to an increase of fatal car accidents.
- As the week progresses during the DST switch, the cumulative effect of our sleep deprivation increases, making us more susceptible to a decrease in our ability to focus and make decisions.
- Shifts in the position of the sun can cause temporary blindness or vision changes when driving, which further increases the risk for serious and fatal car accidents.
- Losing an hour of sunlight at the end of the day during the spring change can trigger depression in individuals with seasonal affective disorder. When this happens, concentration decreases, leaving drivers prone to careless mistakes.
How Can I Prevent a Car Accident During the Daylight Saving Time Change?
Since it does not seem likely that DST will be eliminated any time soon, drivers can take precautionary measures to reduce the likelihood of being involved in a car accident during this time. The following list contains steps to take to reduce your risk for a car accident when DST occurs:
- Set the alarm clock for an hour earlier on the Friday and Saturday preceding the change to DST to give your body time to adjust over the weekend.
- Make sure to leave time in the morning to eat a healthy breakfast to maximize energy levels and focus.
- Go for an early morning walk before leaving the house to invigorate your senses.
- Put children to bed an hour early for a few days before the DST goes into effect so they can rise well-rested for school.
- Try to avoid napping during the day as your body adjusts to the time change. Napping can further disrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle.
- Stay hydrated and avoid highly caffeinated beverages that can lead to a crash in the afternoon.
- If possible, leave your work a little earlier than usual to avoid driving home drowsy.
- Keep to your normal schedule as much as possible during the transition week to help your body adjust to the new regimen.
Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Counsel and Represent Victims of Car Accidents
If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, you may be eligible to collect compensation. Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous, and DST can make matters even worse. Our experienced Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will fight for your rights and protect you from negligent drowsy drivers. Contact us online or call us at 732-537-8570 to schedule a free consultation today. With offices located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we also serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.