Research shows that fatal car accidents increase by up to eight percent the week following the switch to daylight saving time. The main reason is that the time change and additional daylight hours can cause sleep deprivation, leading to drowsy driving and accidents.
Experts say that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Both impair a person’s ability to assess and react to changing road or traffic conditions. Drivers may not brake or stop in time, or not carefully look while changing lanes. Drowsiness can even cause a driver to fall asleep at the wheel.
The seemingly innocent one-hour time change can adversely affect our physical and mental capacities. We may feel foggy, tired, and sluggish for up to two weeks afterward. Interestingly, other research shows that the fall time change makes virtually no difference in the number of accidents.
Following are some tips to help drivers safely change to daylight saving time on Sunday, March 13, this year.
- Stay on schedule. Keep your regular school, home, and work schedules to help your body ease into the difference after the time change.
- Stock up on sleep. Some people go to bed 15 minutes earlier during the four or five days leading up to the time change to offset the drowsiness that comes with the time adjustment.
- Avoid heavy meals and drinks before driving. When a person feels drowsy after the time change, a heavy meal can add to the sleepiness. Limit meals until your body adjusts.
- Reduce light at night. Studies show that light from cell phones, e-readers, and the TV can cause insomnia, which leads to fatigue the next day. A fatigued driver will experience reduced reaction times on the road and may not make good driving decisions.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine at night. Both are known to interfere with sleep cycles, wreaking havoc on driving attentiveness.
- Take a nap. No guilt about napping if it can help restore your vitality and help you ease into the time change.
- Exercise. Walks and other activities can stave off the fatigue that comes with the time change.
- Make sure teen drivers get enough sleep. Inexperience, lack of sleep, and the time change can pose a real danger on the roads.
- Stay vigilant for signs of drowsiness while driving:
- Crossing over road lines
- Hitting a rumble strip
- Tailgating the driver ahead
- Being honked at by other drivers
- Feeling drugged or having heavy eyelids, blinking frequently
- Having difficulty focusing, daydreaming, having rambling thoughts
- Yawning repeatedly and rubbing your eyes
- Suffering microsleeps, falling asleep for a few seconds, which is plenty of time to cause a severe accident
- Stay home. If you are negatively affected by the time change, do not get behind the wheel until your body and mind adjust. Move the timing of a car trip or errands or have someone else drive.
Your body and mind will adjust to the time change. Just be patient, vigilant, and safe while it does.
Media Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Help Clients Injured in Car Accidents Caused by Negligent Drivers
The switch to daylight saving time brings extra challenges to motorists and an increased chance of a car accident. If you were involved in an accident involving a drowsy driver, reach out to the Media car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. We will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to obtain the compensation for which you are entitled. Learn more at a free consultation by filling out an online registration form or calling (610) 892-4940. Our office is in Media, Pennsylvania. We represent clients in Media, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, West Chester, and throughout Pennsylvania.