MACON, Georgia. We recently shifted our clocks forward to welcome in spring. While the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day might be welcome, it comes at a cost. We lose an hour of sleep. According to Vox, this extra hour of sleep can make a huge difference in our mental abilities, in our levels of alertness, and our health. In fact, the number of car accidents that take place on U.S. roads increase on the Monday after the clock shifts forward in the spring. According to Vox, the daily car accident average on a typical day was 78.2. But on the Monday after daylight savings time, the average was 83.5.
Researchers surmise that the loss of one hour of sleep means that people are more tired during their morning and evening commutes. While the time shift takes place over the weekend, one day is hardly enough time to adjust to shifting your clock. To make matters worse, many Americans already may fail to get the sleep they need. Shifting the clock around might only make this harder.
For long-haul drivers, like truck drivers, daylight savings time can also have an effect. It can throw off shipping schedules, adding to stress and making it more likely drivers might disobey federal hours of service laws. Truck drivers are required to abide by strict laws that limit how long they can operate a vehicle in a given day. These laws are in place to prevent accidents due to driver fatigue.
As many as 30 road deaths a year may be the result of daylight savings time.
Yet, according to Scientific American, the drawbacks of daylight savings time may not outweigh the benefits. When we shift our times around during the winter, we do so that the winter sun doesn’t rise too late. This makes it more likely that more workers will be driving to work with sunlight rather than in the dark. Later sunsets also make it more likely that drivers will be going home with sunlight rather than after dark. Nighttime driving can be more dangerous than daytime driving. Daylight savings time ensures that the sun doesn’t rise too early or set too late relative to the workday. By shifting our clocks, we can align our daylight hours better with typical workday start and end times across the country. This could have added safety benefits throughout the year. So, perhaps the slightly increased car accident risk for a day or two once or twice a year, might be worth it.
The best way to deal with the daylight savings time shift is to make sure you’re getting enough rest. People who are already sleep deprived may be more likely to be impacted by the daylight savings time shift. In fact, these drivers may already be prone to causing car accidents. So, get enough rest. Get to bed early relative to the time you need to wake up in the morning.
Finally, no one should get behind the wheel while fatigued. If you find yourself overly fatigued, consider asking to work from home for a day or two while you adjust. Individuals who have been hurt due to the actions of a fatigued driver have certain rights under the law. Adams, Hemingway, & Wilson, L.L.P. are car accident attorneys in Macon, Georgia who understand how serious fatigued driving can be. If you’ve been hurt by a fatigued driver during the daylight savings time shift, you may have important rights under the law. Contact our firm at http://ahwllp.com/ to learn more about your rights and options after a car crash.