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Can We Really Thank Daylight Saving Time for a Rise in Accidents?

Daylight saving time and sleeping patternsDo you feel jet-lagged? Fatigued? If you are feeling more tired than usual this time of year, you aren’t alone. Daylight saving time has kicked in and left people feeling sleepy and sluggish, no matter how much sleep they’ve gotten. It should come as no surprise, then, that vehicle accidents rise after we “spring forward.”

When you stop to think about it, losing an hour’s sleep doesn’t seem like it should matter much. After all, you can always go to bed an hour earlier. Unfortunately, for many people it simply doesn’t work that way. Any disruption to our normal sleep patterns can cause havoc on our bodies.

Increased Traffic Accidents

A 1999 research study conducted by Johns Hopkins University and Stanford found that there was an increase in crash-related fatalities immediately following daylight saving time. The first Monday after the clock shifted forward saw the average number of fatal car crashes rise from 78.2 on a normal Monday to 83.5.

A study conduced in the United States in 1996 found an increase in fatalities related to car accidents following daylight saving time. Another study in Great Britain found the same in 1980. Whether or not any person or group has undertaken research to show that these results are not true is unknown.

Why the Rise?

It is not clear why the number of vehicle collisions rise. What is thought is that, particularly in America, people are already sleep deprived. The change in clocks, no matter how minor, can push already tired people over the edge. The stress is felt in the body in a number of ways, and car accidents aren’t the only result. Studies have shown that heart attacks and workplace injuries also increase following the time change.

Staying Home on Monday

What one should take from the research and information provided is not that they should avoid driving on the Monday following the time change. What should be taken from the information is that even the smallest of sleep disruptions can impair our ability to drive safely.

If you are sleep-deprived, establishing a regular sleep pattern is the best thing that one can do. A regular night’s sleep on a normal schedule will reduce the stress on your body, will help to reset your body’s natural rhythms and make you a more healthy person overall. It’s a misconception that one can “catch up” on their sleep. There is no getting sleep back. The only thing you can do is to start establishing healthy sleep habits for yourself from this day forward.

When a person is involved in a car accident through no fault of their own, they may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. If you have been injured in a car accident in Charlotte and the other driver was at fault, reach out to our experienced team of auto accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your legal options.

Posted In: Car Accidents, Uncategorized
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