Daylight Savings Time comes around the same time every year, when America pushes its clocks ahead one hour. Despite the fact that everyone knows it is coming, people often take a great deal of time to adjust to the change in schedule. This shift is more than a simple inconvenience, however, as the switch to Daylight Savings Time often comes with an increased risk of injury and death, particularly when people are out driving.
The Danger of Daylight Savings Time
According to a study by the University of Colorado at Boulder, the rate of fatal car crashes increases by approximately 6% in the week following the switch to Daylight Savings Time. This unusual spike in car accidents always accompanies the switch, when other factors like weather, time of day, and other similar issues are controlled for. Researchers became even more confident in their results when they looked at the year 2007, when Daylight Savings Time was moved from the first week of April to the second week of March. When that happened, the spike in accidents followed the switch.
What Makes This Time So Dangerous?
There are two primary things that make Daylight Savings Time so dangerous for drivers. The first is that many people take as much as a week to adjust their sleep schedules to accommodate the time change, meaning they are more likely to be driving while sleep deprived. In addition, pushing the clock forwards means that more people are driving in the dark early in the morning, which means reduced visibility and a greater risk of accidents.
Researchers also noted that the effect is more pronounced in areas that are on the western edges of their time zones. Places like Amarillo, Texas, and St. George, Utah, which are unfortunately placed on the western edge of their respective time zones, get an average of 19 minutes less sleep per day due to time zone issues. As a result, accidents go up by as much as 8% during Daylight Savings Time in these areas.
How People Have Responded to the Danger
This study confirms what most people already probably suspected: Daylight Savings Time is not good for public health. In fact, legislators in at least three states have put forward legislation to end the practice of Daylight Savings Time altogether, due to the increased danger it poses. On an individual level, though, people should make sure to try to get to sleep earlier before Daylight Savings Time, which can mitigate some of the effects.
If you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, seeking the advice from an attorney experienced in personal injury law will help assure you get the compensation you deserve. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC assist clients in collecting the damages they need to cope with being the victim of negligence. For more information or to schedule a consultation with our New York personal injury lawyers, call (888) LAW-8088 or fill out our contact form.