Drowsy Driving Linked to Daylight Savings Time
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Every year, people across the nation set their clocks forward an hour as they change to Daylight Savings Time, which lasts until November when clocks are set back an hour. Studies show that the first few days of this time change result in more crashes and fatalities along the nation’s roads as people adjust physically to the change.
Does Changing a Clock One Hour Cause Accidents?
Studies seem to suggest that they do. Studies on the Monday following the start of DST conducted by Stanford University and Johns Hopkins indicate that over the 21-year period of the study, the number of fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents rose consistently. Sacramento police report an increase in crashes in the area in the days following the implementation of DST as well as the California Highway Patrol (CHP), which says that fatalities from motor vehicle crashes increase throughout the state.
The incidence of Drowsy Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving has a number of causes from not getting enough sleep to working shift work, being intoxicated, taking certain medications and untreated health conditions such as sleep apnea. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving caused 72,000 motor vehicle crashes in 2013, which resulted in 800 fatalities and 44,000 injuries. People most likely to exhibit drowsy driving are those who snore or those who get less than six hours of sleep.
What Signs Are Exhibited by a Drowsy Driver?
Some drivers may not realize that they are drowsy until an accident occurs. Being cognizant of the signs of drowsy driving may alert the driver so he or she can deal with the issue. Following are some of the signs of drowsy driving:
- Drifting out of a lane, onto the shoulder or tailgating the vehicle in front
- Rubbing one’s eyes or yawning
- Daydreaming or having thoughts that are disconnected
- Repeated blinking or having problems keeping the head erect
- Feelings of irritation or restlessness
- Missing exits or traffic signs
- Problems remembering driving through the previous area
- Having heavy eyelids
Ways to Adjust Ahead of Time
An hour difference in time may not seem like much, but it can adversely affect driving performance. While it’s too late this year, using the following tips may help the next time DST rolls around.
- Start by using an alarm clock to get yourself to bed on time.
- Avoid distractions before bedtime that can keep the mind busy and prevent sleep.
- Avoid caffeine after noon the evening the time changes.
- Try and avoid naps while adjusting to the time difference.
- Eat a breakfast heavy in protein. Loading up on carbs such as a sugary cereal can give a quick energy boost, but make your energy level crash later on in the day.
- Use a detection system for drowsy drivers.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Some people may require more.
- Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before driving, or if you are using medications that make you sleepy, take a taxi or Uber or ask a friend or family member to drive you.
Car Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento car accident lawyer. Drowsy driving is a problem for all drivers since it can result in traumatic accidents, injuring and sometimes killing others. If you or a member of your family has been injured by a negligent driver, call me at (916) 921-6400 locally or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advise.
My settlements and verdicts section gives you an idea of how I resolved other cases.
The Million Dollar Advocates is made up of trial attorneys who have won $1 million for clients. I am a member from California.
I founded and own AutoAccidents.com, a website that offers information on personal injury law.
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