Does Daylight Saving Time Increase the Risk of a Car Accident?
A recent study found a relationship between daylight savings time and car accidents. According to the study, the change to daylight saving time (DST) in the spring could play a role in a significant number of traffic collisions, including some deadly crashes. This seems to affect those in the westernmost part of their time zone the most. They already get less sleep than others because of the timing of sunrise and sunset.
If you were hurt in a crash following a recent time change, other factors are likely involved. You could have options for pursuing compensation. A car accident attorney from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato may be able to help. Call (954) 633-8270 for your free case review with our team.
What Is the Relationship Between Daylight Savings Time and Car Accidents?
Each spring, the clocks move forward one hour. This begins daylight savings time. Along with this time change comes an increase in several health risks. They include problems with sleep, more heart attacks, and increased collisions.
According to a study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Current Biology, fatal car accidents increased by almost six percent in the week following the springtime change. This means the transition to DST could be a contributing factor to around 28 fatal crashes each year.
The likely culprit? Drowsy driving. With the time change, Americans lose more than just one hour of sleep on Saturday night when the clocks change. It takes several days for most people to adjust to the new schedule. For some, the adjustment could last even longer. This is especially true for those with young children and pets who do not understand why their routine changed suddenly.
Why Is Drowsy Driving So Dangerous?
Drowsy driving can greatly increase the risk of an accident. In many ways, driving drowsy is a distraction. While it does not take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road, it does limit your ability to focus on driving and monitoring the traffic around you.
In fact, some researchers believe drowsy driving is almost as bad as drunk driving in how it can affect your ability to drive safely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving can put you at risk because it involves:
Your Ability to Remain Awake
The most obvious danger of drowsy driving is that you could fall asleep behind the wheel. In that case, the car could drift into another lane, run traffic lights or signals, run off the road, or otherwise crash and cause serious injuries to the driver and occupants of other vehicles.
Your Focus on the Road
When a driver is drowsy, they cannot focus their full attention on the road ahead. The tasks required to drive safely and carefully are more complex than most realize. You must observe the road, watch for other vehicles, and keep an eye out for obstacles, all while maintaining your lane and obeying all signs and signals.
Your Reaction Time
Driving sometimes requires acting immediately to brake or steer. When you have a slowed reaction time, this becomes difficult or impossible. Less reaction time could prevent a drowsy driver from stopping before hitting the car in front of them or colliding with an object in the road, for example.
Your Decision-Making Skills
Feeling drowsy affects your ability to make good decisions behind the wheel. Driving safely means constantly making the best decision based on the traffic, weather, and road conditions. For example, when you change lanes, you must decide if you have room to merge into the other lane between the other vehicles. The wrong decision could result in a crash.
What Are My Legal Options After a Florida Car Accident?
Florida law limits the options for compensation for some hurt in a crash. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), the state requires drivers to carry a personal injury protection (PIP) “no-fault” policy of at least $10,000. This policy pays for some of the policyholder’s medical bills and lost pay regardless of fault.
However, some circumstances also allow crash victims to sue the at-fault driver or take other action to hold them legally responsible for their injuries. You can learn if you qualify during a free initial case consultation with our team.
Talk to Our Team About Your Florida Car Accident for Free Today
Discuss your case for free today with a team member from the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato. We provide these case assessments so accident victims can ask questions and learn about their options. Let us review your case facts with you.
Call (954) 633-8270 or use the online form to contact us about your free initial consultation. We also take car accident cases on a contingency-fee basis, so we only get paid if you do.