It’s time once again to give the clocks an hour’s nudge! Daylight Saving Time was implemented nationwide and standardized in 1966 as a means to save energy used in lighting. However its usefulness is now being called into question more and more as cultural shifts have changed the way we use energy, particularly with air conditioning homes.
Whether it’s rolling them back an hour in the fall, or skipping them ahead an hour in the spring, it’s a practice that usually brings about a collective groan (not to mention the yawns) from the population. Once again we’ll have to get our bodies used to a new routine. Aside from the disruption to our schedules, though, there’s another reason to dislike the Daylight Saving Time dance we do twice a year: an increase in car wrecks!
Studies Show Alarming Trends
Researchers from the University of Colorado recently decided to take a closer look at Daylight Saving Time and its effects on drivers, studying patterns over a 10-year period. Their conclusion is that it can take nearly a week for drivers to adjust to the time change, and the results can be deadly. Data suggests up to a 17% increase in traffic-related deaths can occur after time change, and many police departments show similar statistics. And this doesn’t just apply to drivers and passengers, but to pedestrians as well. A report on “Accident Analysis & Prevention” shows that having an additional hour of daylight in the evening would save 170 pedestrian lives annually.
Vehicle passengers & pedestrians aren’t the only ones at risk, though. Studies also show that on the Monday following the springtime change to Daylight Saving Time, injuries in the workplace increase in both number of incidents and severity!
Staying Safe After Time Change
So what can we do to make driving safer during the adjustment period after time change?
- Prepare and adjust sleep schedules accordingly.
If you know you’re more prone to being tired and groggy after time changes, try to get to bed earlier and get more rest.
- Allow yourself extra time in the mornings so you don’t feel rushed.
- Most importantly, if you start to feel drowsy while driving, pull over somewhere safe and rest, or get out and stretch your legs until you feel more alert.
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