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How can I Drive Safely During the Week Following Daylight Saving Time?

Published: Mar 11, 2021 in Auto Accident, Distracted Driving, Personal Injury

Losing an hour of sleep due to daylight saving time (DST) happens each spring, and the effects of DST may cause risks for drivers. According to the University of Colorado in Boulder, fatal car accidents increase during the week following the official clock change. The most hazardous time is the Monday following the time adjustment. Researchers theorize that the overnight time change confuses the body’s internal clock, disrupting sleep patterns. Below are some suggestions to help drivers defend against the dangers of sleep deprivation during DST.

Go to Bed Earlier

Heading to bed an hour earlier than usual is a helpful way to ensure that the time change does not inhibit a full night of sleep; however, it may not be easy for some people. Going to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier for a few nights leading up to DST might help the body adjust more gradually.

Adjust Nighttime Routines

The evening before the DST change is a good time to reset normal routines. Eat dinner earlier, move up the bedtime routine, and relax in a warm bath or in some other way to indicate that bedtime is nearing.

Also, one way to help the body with the time adjustment is to switch the clocks to the new time before DST begins. To get acclimated to the time change, it is advisable to not oversleep the next morning as well. One should wake up and go outside. The sunshine and outdoor air will help the body fight drowsiness.

Drive with Extra Care

It is important to practice safe driving each time one gets into the car; however, motorists should be extra cautious during the week following the time change. Some road users may not be driving safely, or they may not be adjusted to the clock shift. During the morning hours in the week following DST, motorists should be even more vigilant.

Keep Cool While Driving

Fatigue is likely after DST starts, but one of the best ways to combat drowsiness is to turn on the air conditioning in the vehicle or open a window to get some cool air circulating. A blast of cold can increase alertness and eliminate sleepiness; however, motorists should remember that this is only a short-term fix. The only long-term solution is to get a good night of sleep and be well-rested.

Beware of Sun Glare

When the clocks change, familiar commutes may suddenly involve sun glare because the angle of the sun will be in a different position than the previous day. Motorists should be mindful of the ways that the time change can affect their vision while driving. Polarized sunglasses may protect against these dangers during early morning and evening commutes when the sun is low in the sky. It can be helpful to put sunglasses in the car ahead of DST.

Maintain Good Visibility

Visibility is vital for safe driving. Ensure that windows and mirrors are clean and free of streaks and smudges. Make sure windshield wipers are in good working order and that wiper fluid is plentiful. Clear any snow, ice, or other dangerous obstructions from the vehicle. Use headlights in low light or decreased-visibility conditions to ensure that the vehicle is visible to other drivers.

Avoid Distractions

It is imperative to avoid distracted driving at any time of the year. Although this may be difficult for some motorists, drivers should put away cellphones and other distractions. Motorists need to ignore the temptations and remain focused on driving and other road users.

Do Not Tailgate Other Drivers

Give other cars plenty of room. Traveling too closely shortens the time there is to react to an emergency. Leaving enough space between cars can provide enough time to avoid an accident, and it also give drivers a better view on upcoming dangers as they approach them.

Recognize the Dangers of DST

DST may negatively affect drivers, but the hazards are not limited to the morning commute. In fact, inadequate sleep may not impact a driver until the late afternoon. Without accounting for this, it is possible that a diligent driver who is extra attentive during their morning commute may slide into old habits in the afternoon or evening. Motorists should make sure to practice safe driving throughout the entire day.

Rather than focusing on the short-term effects of DST, drivers should make year-round efforts to ensure safety. Safe driving habits can lessen the likelihood of accidents, but some collisions are unpreventable. If a motorist is hit by a negligent driver, they may be able to file a personal injury claim in order to collect compensation for financial losses, such as medical bills, depending on the circumstances. With the help from a lawyer, a victim can focus on recovery instead of mounting bills after a collision.

Edwardsville Car Crash Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Help Clients Recover Losses After Drowsy Driving Auto Accidents

DST can lead to driving dangers, and some motorists may not practice safety. If you are injured during the time change or at any other time, an Edwardsville car crash lawyer at Cates & Mahoney, LLC can help you. We can help you get a fair settlement in your car accident case. Complete our online form today or call us at 618-277-3644 for a free consultation. We have an office located in Swansea, Illinois, and we serve clients in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.