Daylight Savings Time, Car Accidents, and Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is a common contributor to automobile accidents of all kinds, including trucking and motorcycle accidents. Those who commute to and from work are often either still sleepy when on the way or excessively tired when coming home.
There is also another reason for accidents in November that happen due to the beginning of daylight savings time. That problem is body clock adjustment and driver fatigue.
Driver Fatigue Stats
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA both agree statistically that fatigued or "drowsy" driving is a major contributor to many accidents. The NHTSA reported that in 2013 alone there were over 800 deaths directly associated with fatigued driving.
AAA estimates that 37% of all drivers admit to driving drowsy at some point in time. Drowsy driving can affect a driver in similar ways that drunk driving can, such as slowing a driver’s reaction time or affecting their ability to make sound decisions. With this in mind, it is clearly a problem on American highways.
Understanding the Body Clock
The impact daylight savings time can have on driving is primarily associated with the body clock in conjunction with the time change. Even one sleepless night can result in commuting workers driving while sleepy, potentially both to and from work. This can be dangerous when much of the driving time is in congested traffic at medium to high rates of speed.
Even when traffic volume is low, drivers who have experienced a lack of sleep and an exhaustive day can fall asleep behind the wheel. According to studies by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the body naturally adjusts to the time change over time, but sometimes it can take up to a week to get back in sync. And then there is still the problem of insufficient sleep and tiredness for many behind the wheel.
Know the Signs
It is important for all drivers to know the signs of fatigued driving and pay close attention during the DST shift beginning in November. Taking steps to avoid attempting to press on while drowsy can be vital to ensuring safety on the road, and having a plan to keep yourself alert is essential.
Avoiding dense traffic when possible can be a good decision in some instances, but the real issue is staying awake and as alert as possible. And for those who are not drowsy behind the wheel, always remember that other drivers may be. Because of this, always have a personal injury attorney in mind to call quickly in the event of an accident.
If you’re injured in a Denver car accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to the car accident attorneys at Springer & Steinberg. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t pay unless we can help win you compensation for your injuries.
Contact our firm at (303) 861-2800 to schedule your free consultation.