Is There a Spike in Car Accidents Once Daylight Saving Time Starts?
The spring season is fast approaching when the weather gets a bit warmer and nicer. We also spend a few more hours in the sun because of the change to daylight saving time, when the clocks are pushed up an hour. Introduced originally during the days of World War I, daylight saving time was used to save energy in our communities. However, it has become a hotly debated topic, with many states finding that daylight saving time may be doing more harm than good.
The one-hour time shift has caused all sorts of problems to many internal clocks, leading to workplace injuries and even strokes. Now, a study by the University of Colorado revealed that daylight saving time is causing trouble for drivers as well; fatal car accidents increase by over six percent during the week following the beginning of daylight saving time.
The lost hour does a lot more harm than one might realize; our circadian rhythm, otherwise known as our internal body clock, is thrown off cycle with the hour shift, causing fatigue and drowsiness. The fatal accidents can also be attributed to the darker morning commute, as many of the collisions in the study occurred in the morning.
Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States, and daylight saving time seemingly makes it worse. In fact, drowsy driving causes over 13 percent of all car accidents in the country. Furthermore, the National Sleep Foundation found that over 50 percent of all adult drivers admit to driving drowsy at one point in their driving career.
Steps Drivers Can Take to Transition to Daylight Saving Time
To combat the ill effects of daylight saving time, here are a few suggestions to keep safe when the clocks change:
- Leading up to the time change, go to sleep earlier and account for the upcoming change. This helps regulate your body to adjust properly for when the clocks actually do change.
- Recognize the signs of drowsiness can help prevent an accident. If you find yourself yawning, rubbing your eyes, or excessively blinking, pull over to a safe and well-lit area and rest. Another sign of drowsiness is daydreaming and not remembering the past few miles.
- Because of the morning darkness, you may not be accustomed to certain hazards on your commute, such as a high curb or deep pothole. Avoid potholes and any other road hazard as best and as safely as possible.
- Always leave enough space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you. This allows you enough time to perform an emergency maneuver if necessary. A simple rule to follow is to allow 10 feet for every mile per hour you are traveling; for example, you should allow 50 feet when going 50 mph.
- Daylight saving time is a good time of year to have a vehicle checkup, as it more than likely needs to recover from the dangers of winter roads. Have your tires and brakes checked, and make sure your tires are always at the proper pressure, including your spare. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), underinflated tires are three times more likely to blow out, causing the driver to lose control and crash.
Many experts state that drowsy driving is the equivalent of drunk driving, as they both share the same characteristics. They both adversely affect your ability to judge distances, make quick decisions, and ultimately lose the ability to drive safely.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Clients Injured by Drowsy Drivers
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy or negligent driver, reach out to the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our skilled legal team will thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and help you get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, DC, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.