Daylight Saving This Weekend- Drive Safe
Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend on Sunday, March 13, and the longer days are generally preferred by many people. However, the change in regular hours can negatively affect drivers.
According to a study titled, “Spring Forward at your Own Risk: Daylight Saving Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes” by Austin Smith at the University of Colorado at Boulder, there was “an increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents the first six days after the clocks spring ahead.” Additionally the report states,”the Fatal Accident Reporting System found a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the shift.”
Two main reasons that the time change affects drivers are a lack of visibility from a dark morning commute or from drivers being tired from waking up earlier and cutting out an hour of sleep from their routine sleep cycle.
While it is very important to realize the possible effects from the time change, this annual event brings up a larger conversation that is present on the road everyday — fatigued drivers.
Driving while sleepy is a major cause of vehicle accidents throughout the year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Furthermore, many studies have also determined that sleepy drivers are just as dangerous as drivers who are impaired by drinking or drugs.
The bottom line?
- If your sleep routine is disrupted from the time change — get some extra sleep the night before.
- Whenever you have to drive during a time that is not routine for your body, get some sleep.
- Feeling sleepy, pull over somewhere safe and take a nap — there’s no need to rush.