Introduced during the first world war to increase productivity, daylight saving time also known as DST has continued to be used today. However, there has been debates on how useful it really is and the concerns for the hazards it facilitates for road users has only risen. In theory, losing one hour sleep may not seem significant, however in actuality the change it causes in our routine has been proven to cause mood disorders, effect mental acuity and can have negative effects on our health which can all lead to motor vehicle collisions. An individual who is suffering with exhaustion on the road is a danger, however when an entire population is affected the risks of road accidents only increases when the clocks go forward from standard time.
What are the Dangers of Daylight Saving Time?
Studies have shown that there is a 6.3% increase in fatal crashes in the six days following the daylight-saving time (DST) change. The stress that our bodies go under during time changes not only leads to road accidents due to exhaustion but can lead to serious health issues and even heart attacks.
Daylight saving time can cause jetlag-like symptoms which only increase with sleep deprivation and can result in drowsy driving which is just as dangerous as drunk driving. When fatigue from time changes occurs, drivers are more at risk of being involved in a serious road collision as they are not able to respond fast enough to pedestrian crossings or road hazards and drivers are even susceptible to falling asleep at the wheel. Studies by ROSPA have found that driver fatigue causes 20% of road accidents and over a quarter of fatal and serious accidents.
Daylight Saving and Drowsy Driving
The number of fatal accidents caused by daylight saving time are rising yearly caused by the effects of drowsy driving. Like drunk driving, drowsy driving can negatively impact how well you can make fast decisions, lead to delayed reaction times, and make it difficult to react and pay attention to road hazards which can have fatal consequences. The sudden change in time can disrupt sleep patterns which leads to a reduction in total sleep time and the overall quality of sleep. Studies by Sleepcycle how to reduce the effect that DST has on sleep and our bodies is to begin adjusting to daylight saving time a few days before it takes effect to maintain a regular sleep pattern for as long as possible.
How to Stay Safe on the Roads During Daylight Saving Time
The safest advice is to avoid driving when you are sleep deprived and take a different form of transport, however this is not always possible.
Some ways to prepare yourselves for daylight saving times and staying safe include:
- Allowing yourself to ease into earlier bedtimes and earlier waking times, as good sleeping habits are the most important part of a safety plan.
- Expose yourself to daylight as soon as possible.
- Avoid using screens which emit blue light before bed as this can affect your natural sleep-and-wake cycle.
- Refrain from consuming caffeine before bed.
- Know the warning signs- yawning, excessive blinking, drifting into another lane, and missing an exit are all indicators that fatigue is affecting your ability to drive.
- If you experience any warning signs of fatigue, then pull over where it is safe and take a short nap or a brisk walk which has been proven to help wake you up.
By thinking and planning for daylight saving time you can avoid the possibility of being involved in an accident at work or on the road.
What do I do if I am Involved in a Road Traffic Accident?
We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:
- Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
- Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
- Accident date and time
- Accident location
- Full contact details of any witnesses
Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.
If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.