The end of Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner, which means Kansas City, residents will join most of the nation in setting back the clock. While many people rejoice at the thought of getting an extra hour of sleep, this event may come with consequences and ultimately cost more than that extra hour is worth.
What the Research Reveals
Although you might be getting an extra hour of sleep when the “fall back” in November happens, you may not really be benefiting. Losing that hour of daylight during waking hours has a correlation to a marked increase in the number of traffic accidents and fatalities that occur this time each year.
One of the reasons for the increased number of accidents is the loss of an hour of afternoon sunlight. That sunlight helps drivers see pedestrians and other cars more clearly; when it’s suddenly much darker than people are accustomed to, the danger of being involved in an accident rises. As Lawrence University Economist David Gerard noted in a 2014 Time Magazine article about the dangers of adjusting the clocks twice each year, “Even though it’s dark, you’re still behaving like it’s light.”
Another contributing factor to these seasonal vehicular mishaps is that people need to learn to adjust sleep schedules when they reset their clocks, but most struggle to do so. That means drivers are less alert behind the wheel. Combined with darkness at an earlier hour, drowsiness can create a recipe for disaster.
Tips for Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time
There are steps you can take to prepare yourself and loved ones for Daylight Savings Time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following tips for motorists:
1. Slow down. Recognize that you cannot see as well in the dark, and adjust your speed accordingly.
2. Don’t count on pedestrians or cyclists to see you. With the Daylight Savings Time switch comes colder weather. Understand that pedestrians or cyclists who are wearing hats, earmuffs or headphones may not hear you approaching until it is too late.
3. Make sure you can see. Are your windshield and mirrors clean enough to give you an unobstructed view? Make sure that your wiper fluid is filled and your defroster is working appropriately so you don’t inadvertently end up in an accident that you could have easily avoided.
4. Understand you need rest. Because sleep patterns are typically out-of-whack for most people in the initial days after this time shift, you must be conscious of any need to adjust your schedule so that you can be well-rested.
It is frightening to think that losing that hour of daylight could cost you your life. But, by taking these common-sense steps, you can prevent, or at the very least minimize, auto accidents related to Daylight Savings Times.
If, despite your best efforts to avoid a traffic accident, you find yourself or someone you love involved in one, contact a car accident attorney right away. Being in an accident is nerve-wracking and stressful. Knowledgeable, attorneys handling auto accident cases will advocate for your rights.
If you’ve been in a car accident, hiring an attorney will allow you to deal with all the other matters in life without having to worry about compromising your legal claim. Call the Mann, Wyatt, & Rice for advice about your auto accident claim today.