October 29, 2021
Is the End of Daylight Saving Time Dangerous for Motorists?
When the clocks “fall back” in November, everyone gains an extra hour of sleep. That extra hour of sleep may seem like a good thing for drivers, but it still affects the circadian rhythm, leading to extreme fatigue and drowsy driving. Some studies suggest that there is an uptick in car accidents in the days following the end of daylight saving time (DST).
The circadian rhythm, or circadian cycle, refers to the internal process that regulates your body’s sleep-wake cycle. When you are used to a daily routine, the circadian cycle is what is what makes you become tired at about the same time each evening or whenever you normally go to bed. It is also what makes it possible for you to wake up regularly at about the same time each day. If you sleep without an alarm because you wake up at about the same time each workday, the circadian rhythm makes that happen. So, when the clocks fall back, that subtle change could be enough to throw off your body’s internal clock and affect your ability to focus and drive safely.
You could become more distracted and less aware of your surroundings while driving if you are extremely fatigued. Your sleep might be disrupted and cause you to drive while drowsy. Even the sun’s location in the sky could cause a significant problem if you drive toward the east in the morning hours, or you travel west in the early evening while going to and from work.
Dangerous Driving When DST Ends
DST can have an impact on your driving ability. More car accidents are seen in the five work days following the DST time change. That deadly increase occurs during both the spring and fall time change.
A main part of why car accidents increase when DST ends in November is that more motorists will be traveling when it is dark outside. Both morning and evening commuters will encounter more nighttime driving. You might be used to driving in the daylight, so it is important to sharpen your driving skills in order to adapt to the time change in November.
How Can I Prepare for the Time Change?
Drowsy driving is a top cause of car accidents any time of the year, but it is more prevalent around the start and end of DST. Some states have eliminated DST altogether, but many states still implement the time change, including Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania will likely continue DST as long as the majority of states are doing the same. That means more dangers around the start and end of DST. You can help mitigate the dangers of DST by following a few key safety tips.
Adjust Sleep Schedule
The best way to prepare for the end of DST is to adjust your sleep schedule a week or so prior to the time change. Even going to bed a half hour earlier could significantly mitigate the effects of moving the clocks back. Preparing ahead of time will help your body adjust. As a result, you will be more alert and focus when you drive during the days following the end of DST.
Ideally, you can adjust your sleep for that one-hour change so that you have no adverse side effects, like drowsy driving and a temporarily decreased ability to focus. If you run a tight schedule from the moment you rise until you leave work, that might make it harder to adjust your sleep. However, it is beneficial to push yourself to help your circadian rhythm adjust to the time change. The more time you prepare, the better the outcome.
Make Sure Vehicle Is in Good Condition
You also should ensure your vehicle is in good shape and has working brakes, lights, and that the wiper fluid is filled. You also could give your wheels and tires a balance and rotation service, and you should replace any worn tires to ensure your vehicle gives you the best traction in poor weather conditions. All of these precautions can help you reduce the risk of a car accident any time of the year.
Montgomery County Car Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Build Strong Cases Against Drowsy Drivers
You should take reasonable safety precautions to lessen the dangers of DST. However, many drivers will not prepare for the time change, putting you at risk. If you were involved in a collision with a drowsy driver, our Montgomery County car accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. can protect your rights. We will help you hold the negligent driver accountable for their actions. You can contact us online or call us at 267-861-7100 to schedule a free consultation today. We are located in Philadelphia, and we serve clients throughout Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown, Pennsylvania.