Daylight savings time ends on November 6, resulting in clocks being turned back one hour. And while this "fall back" gives people an extra hour of sleep and means the morning commute will have more daylight, the evening commute will see many drivers returning from work in the dark. Because it takes time to adjust to the time difference, any disruption in our sleep schedule can contribute to car accidents.
Time Changes Make Driving More Risky
During the adjustment period of daylight savings time—whether it’s during the “spring forward” or “fall back” period—there is an increase in car accidents. Researchers believe it’s because we feel groggy for a few days following a time change, and our bodies and brains are trying to adjust to it. They believe that when sleep cycles are disturbed, “everyone gets messed up.”
While researchers seem to focus more on driving behavior after “springing forward”—when we lose an hour of sleep—experts believe that “falling back” poses dangers, as well. Even though we gain an extra hour of sleep, our sleep is still disrupted and altered.
The majority of people report their bodies adjust to daylight savings time changes within one week, but during those days following that change, it’s important to pay more attention when you’re driving.
Daylight Savings Time Makes It Harder to Avoid Nighttime Driving
Falling back means losing an hour of daylight in the evening, so more people are forced to drive after dark as part of their daily commute. Driving at night is more challenging than driving in the day because depth perception, peripheral vision, color recognition, and overall visibility are compromised. The glare of headlights from an oncoming car or truck can also cause temporary blindness, which is problematic during rush hour when everyone is in a hurry to return home for the evening.
Night vision generally decreases as people age. Studies have shown than the typical 50-year-old driver needs twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old driver. Drivers over age 60 struggle even more, since they are more likely to have cataracts and degenerative eye diseases.
Minimizing distractions in the vehicle, reducing your speed, cleaning your windshield to reduce streaks, and checking to make sure your headlights are aimed correctly can make driving at night safer. You'll also want to keep a close watch for deer, since these animals are most active between the hours of 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm, and more deer-related collisions are reported in November than any other month of the year.
Protecting Your Rights After an Auto Accident
While there are many steps you can take to help stay safe on the road, sometimes accidents happen despite your best efforts. If you've been injured in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, keep in mind that you're entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Insurance companies are often slow to process claims following an accident, due to their desire to maximize profit by limiting the payment for each claim. To ensure you receive the compensation you need to move forward with your life, you'll want to enlist the services of a skilled personal injury attorney. With Neblett, Beard & Arsenault to advocate for your needs, you can be confident that your interests will be represented throughout every step of the settlement process. To learn more, contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.