On Sunday, November 7, 2021, the clock will “fall back” one hour at approximately 2 a.m., returning to standard time after a period of daylight savings time. In most places, the sun will come out earlier and go down earlier, which may lead to more car accidents during the evening rush hour.
How the Time Change Causes Accidents
Daylight savings time can also cause drowsiness on the road, even though we get an extra hour of sleep in the fall. Research shows that both springing forward and falling back may have a negative effect on our physical and psychological well-being, as changing the clock by an hour interrupts our sleep schedules. Despite the small interruption, it takes our minds and bodies weeks to recover.
When we aren’t operating optimally, we are more vulnerable to deadly mistakes on the road, workplace injuries, and other serious accidents. Some studies have even shown an increase in heart attacks and strokes when the clocks shift for daylight savings time.
Experts Argue for an End to Daylight Savings Time
Neuroscientists argue that the “forced sleep deprivation and circadian rhythm disruption” of daylight savings time is unnecessary. Most countries do not observe daylight savings time, and even states like Arizona and Hawaii skip changing their clocks twice a year.
Contrary to popular belief, daylight savings time was not designed for farmers. Instead, it was implemented in World War I to decrease energy usage later at night and redirect resources toward war efforts. Now, the Department of Transportation claims that the practice saves energy, prevents traffic accidents, and reduces crime when the opposite has proven to be true.
Each year, fatal traffic accidents increase by 6% during the transition to daylight savings time in the spring (“spring forward”). Changes to our sleep patterns can also make us more accident-prone when we return to standard time in the fall.
Many lawmakers have heeded the experts and called for an end to daylight savings time, but the unfortunate practice still exists in New York – and most other states across the country.
Tips to Stay Safe
As your clocks fall back, you might feel fuzzy or off. Make sure you avoid driving when you feel this way, so you do not cause an accident. NBC News has also shared the following tips to reduce daylight savings time’s effect on your body and mind:
- Stick to your typical schedule or routine, if you have one (if not, now is a perfect time to establish a regular sleep schedule)
- Get as much light as possible when you wake up (open the blinds as soon as you open your eyes)
- Schedule a morning workout to wake your body up
- Don’t drink too much caffeine
- Don’t take a nap
At Foley Griffin, our team would like to add one more tip: be careful on the road. While you should always drive safely and defensively, taking extra care during daylight savings time could save your life.
We have 75 years of combined legal experience, and we don’t get paid unless you win, so do not hesitate to call us for a free consultation today.