Why Do More Auto Accidents Happen After Daylight Savings Time (DST)?

Every year, the switch to Daylight Savings Time (DST) is a nightmare, in terms of the danger it poses to the general public. When people switch to DST, the rate of auto accidents increases by six percent for a full week afterwards, reliably. But why is it that Daylight Savings Time is so dangerous for drivers, and what can be done to deal with it?

What is Daylight Savings Time (DST)?

Daylight Savings Time begins every year in March, in which all clocks are set one hour ahead. In effect, everyone affected by DST “loses” an hour when this happens, as the clock goes instantly from 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM. This lasts until November, when the clock is set back again one hour to “standard” time. This is meant to help capitalize on the longer days during the summer, helping to save energy by making the most of the daylight.

What is the Problem With DST?

Unfortunately, Daylight Savings Time presents a problem, resulting from the “lost” hour. Because it happens in the middle of the night to minimize impact on businesses, that hour is typically cut out of most people’s sleep schedules. In addition, because people are accustomed to their old sleep schedules, it can take up to a week for people to adjust to the new DST schedule. In effect, it means that people, on average, sleep for one hour less every night in the week following the transition to DST.

How Does This Cause More Auto Accidents?

Because people are getting less sleep, they also tend to be more exhausted when traveling on the road. Exhausted drivers are less attentive and more easily distracted, meaning it tends to take more time for them to react to conditions on the road, such as a car suddenly stopping in front of them or a pedestrian walking into the road. In more extreme circumstances, drivers can even fall asleep while they are behind the wheel, causing them to completely lose control over their vehicle and get into an accident.

What Can Be Done to Stop This?

The most obvious answer, of course, is for people to begin preparing for DST before it starts, so they aren’t caught by surprise when the clock shifts forward. Failing that, however, people simply need to be cognizant of their own energy levels, and use caffeine as necessary to remain awake and alert. If that’s not possible, it is always better to stop by the side of the road and get a quick nap than it is to fall asleep in traffic.

If you have been injured in an auto 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 New York City and Long Island 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.

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