How does daylight saving time lead to more car accidents?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2023 | Car Accident |

There are many situations that can cause an increase in car accidents in Washington and other areas. One of them is daylight saving time. Not only does the time change and loss of one hour cause more accidents, but it also leads to more fatalities from those collisions.

How daylight saving time affects you

Daylight saving time impacts people by costing them an hour of sleep. Although that doesn’t seem like a lot of time, that single hour is crucial to ensuring that people have a normal circadian rhythm; this is the body’s natural biological cycle, which is responsible for the normal sleep-wake routine. When the clock springs forward, the circadian rhythm is disrupted, posing health risks such as slower metabolism, weight gain, depression, headaches and even cardiovascular problems. The time change can also cause cognitive issues and drowsiness.

Why DST leads to more fatal car accidents

There are various reasons why daylight saving time leads to an increase in fatal car accidents. Many people have to drive to work early in the morning. When it grows darker earlier in the day, it makes driving riskier.

Daylight saving time also makes driving dangerous because more people are drowsy behind the wheel. Fatigued driving is comparable to driving under the influence because it impairs judgment, reaction time and cognitive ability. Even if drivers don’t actually fall asleep, it could still lead to fatal motor vehicle accidents as they fail to maintain safe control of the vehicle.

Adjusting to the time change

If you are drowsy, it’s best to avoid driving. Finding an alternative means of transportation or pulling over and resting until you are OK to drive could help. Preparing for the time change is also wise.