Why Do Fatal Car Accidents Increase After Daylight Saving Time?

March 11, 2021

A study from the University of Colorado in Boulder shows that the number of fatal car accidents in the Unites States rises by six percent in the week following daylight saving time (DST). When the clocks move forward, the morning commute happens in darkness, and people lose an hour of sleep; both factors can contribute to car crashes. Researchers reviewed the time period from 1996 to 2017 and analyzed more than 730,000 accidents. The results suggest that DST negatively impacts health and safety.

In addition to an increase in heart attacks, strokes, and workplace injuries, there is a consistent rise in fatal accidents in the week following DST. The study also found that the risk of a deadly crash is higher in the western areas of the United States. In western regions, fatal accidents rose by more than eight percent.

How can Accidents be Prevented After the Time Change?

Drivers setting out for the morning commute may be sleep deprived until their bodies adjust. Mornings will be darker, making it harder to see pedestrians and cyclists. According to the University of Colorado study, most of the additional fatal accidents happen in the mornings during the week following the time change, and the increase happens immediately the day of the clock change.

Drivers should exercise extra caution during the week following DST by being on the lookout for drowsy drivers. Truck drivers in particular may not have had the chance to adjust to the time change, given their irregular schedules and long hours. People who are out early in the day on foot or bikes should wear light-colored reflective clothing and carry flashlights to ensure they can be seen by drivers.

Preparing for the time change can also help. Prioritize sleep during the week leading up to the time change. Also, plan to go to bed early on the night of the time change in order to be well-rested the next day. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can also help make the switch easier. Try to avoid coffee and alcohol in the evening before bed, eat light meals at dinner, and avoid too much exposure to the lights on laptops, phones, and the television.

If one is hit by a drowsy driving, they might be eligible to collect damages from the at-fault party. A victim should retain a lawyer to determine if they can pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Get Compensation for Victims Injured by Dangerously Fatigued Drivers

Drivers should be cautious around DST since many motorists are adjusting to the time shift. If you were injured by a drowsy motorist, a Delaware County personal injury lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can help you. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete our online form for a free consultation. We are located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.