Link Between Daylight Savings And An Increased Rate Of Serious Auto Accidents

Very few people know that the time change – Daylight savings time (DST) – that comes with changing seasons could increase the risk of vehicle accidents and injuries. As reported by Slate.com, the accident risks associated with daylight savings time are much higher as it leads to one lost hour of sleep. Our bodies use the natural light to set our internal clocks, and since the sun rises later during DST, it can be more challenging to wake up in the morning. 

Several studies show that fatal vehicle collision increase the Monday after the daylight savings time begins. The loss of one hour of sleep leads many drivers to become tired and groggy, thereby increasing the risk of accidents.

How Daylight Savings Time Impacts Us

According to a study of miners published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, daylight savings time not only leads to more vehicle accidents, but also workplace accidents. 

The adverse effect of changing the clocks is so significant that some health experts have been advocating getting rid of the time changes altogether. Researchers have found that having DST throughout the year could save up to 366 lives that are usually lost in fatal car crashes.

On the other hand, those in favor of DST argue that it brings energy savings and overall safety because after the initial surge in car crashes during the days right after the switch to DST, there are fewer accidents during the entirety of DST. This is because it is more likely to be light out when most people are using the roads to commute from school and work.

Whether DST is a good idea or bad, the time change is not likely going to be eliminated for the time being. So if you want to reduce the negative impact of the time switch, consider going to bed earlier in the days that lead up to the time change. And you should always avoid driving a vehicle if you are sleep deprived or feeling groggy.

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue, which is why drowsy driving is considered similar to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and drugs. Both situations hinder your ability to properly assess potential hazards and make it difficult to pay attention to the road. 

In case of daylight savings hours, your sleep pattern can be disrupted with sudden change in clock time. This disruption can make you feel less alert and on your guard.

Ease Your Body Into the Time Shift

To prevent the risks associated with DST, experts recommend paying special attention to your sleeping hours in the days leading up to the time change. Start adjusting to daylight savings time at least a week before the time shift goes into effect.  

This will reduce the fatigue that usually comes with the spring DST transition. Healthcare experts also recommend minimizing your exposure to light from phones, TV, and computers at night especially during this time.

Since your goal is to feel as less groggy as possible in the morning, avoid eating heavy meals for dinner. Also avoid drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks right before you go to sleep. If you find yourself still feeling dazed after the time shift, take naps to help your body adjust. Slowly but surely, your body will get used to the new time.

Is Drowsy Driving Really That Serious?

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  • Drivers who get less than 5 hours of sleep have a similar accident risk as drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving depending on how much sleep deprived a driver is feeling. Both drunk driving and drowsy driving make the driver unable to react quickly to dangerous situation and pay attention to the road.
  • While 96% of drivers believe that that drowsy driving is intolerable, nearly 30% of those drivers admitted to operating a vehicle when they were so tired that they couldn’t keep their eyes open. In fact, these motorists admitted that this happened at least once within the last month.

Reach Out To Seasoned Virginia Auto Accident Attorneys Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle collision, the attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn are here at your disposal. We understand that auto accidents rarely end well for the victim, and you might be experiencing injuries, vehicle damage, not to mention mounting hospital bills.

Victims of car accidents in Virginia are protected by law – you don’t have to settle with the insurance company for the lowest amount of compensation they are offering. Allow our attorneys to evaluate your case and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. With decades of combined experience, our auto accident attorneys know the Virginia laws as well as insurance companies like the back of their hand. We have the skills, expertise, and the tenacity it takes to recover the maximum possible compensation for our clients.

To schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation, call us at 800-752-0042 and one of our attorneys will be happy to evaluate your situation and suggest the best course of action.

References:

https://www.hsinjurylaw.com/blog/facts-about-drowsy-driving.cfm

https://www.hsinjurylaw.com/library/tips-to-avoid-drowsy-driving-crashes.cfm

https://www.hsinjurylaw.com/faqs/what-factors-lead-to-drowsy-driving-accidents-.cfm

Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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