Daylight Saving Time and Fatal Car Accidents

In 2020, daylight saving time (DST) starts on March 8 at 2:00 a.m. While many people look forward to that extra hour of evening light, the DST transition period also marks an increase in fatal car accidents. The loss of one hour of sleep appears to be the catalyst for many of these crashes. The highest number of accidents and fatalities occurs on the first Monday that follows the time change. There is also a six percent increase in fatal car accidents several days after DST goes into effect.

A National Highway Transportation Safety Administration study found that on past average Mondays, there were 78.2 fatal motor vehicle accidents nationwide. On the Mondays after DST, that number rose to 83.5. Canadian researchers found similar results, although the higher accident rate north of the border was eight percent.

Early Morning Risk

As expected, the accident rate is highest in the early morning. Not only are many motorists more sleep deprived, but they may leave for work in the dark rather than during daylight. Some researchers compare the effects of the time change to jet lag.

Although these statistics prove true for New Jersey, the greatest risk is in the Western states as it is considerably darker in the early morning weeks after DST.

Protecting Yourself

Although there is no surefire way to protect yourself from an accident right after DST takes place, there are preparations you can make to lower your risk. About a week beforehand, start eating meals earlier than usual, if possible. Dim the lights in your earlier in your house before going to bed; upon awakening, turn on more lights than usual. These simple measures help your body and its circadian rhythms to adjust more readily to DST.

Improve Sleep Habits

The data suggests that DST can be deadly, but it also suggests that many Americans are not obtaining enough sleep. Sufficiently sleeping between seven and eight hours each night improves overall health and productivity.

If you experience trouble sleeping, get a head start on the issue before DST arrives. While over-the-counter medications and prescription sleep aids are available, it is best to try to fall asleep without artificial crutches, if possible. Turn off the computer and other devices at least half an hour before bedtime, avoid caffeinated beverages, and do not engage in vigorous exercise before going to bed. Drinking chamomile tea or using natural sleep supplements may help, but it is best to always obtain your doctor’s advice.

Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Advocate for Those Injured in Motor Vehicle Accidents

If you were injured in a car accident, contact one of our experienced Atlantic City car accident lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm to explore your options. Drowsy driving is dangerous, and the upcoming time change may cause the roads to become more perilous. Contact us onlineor call us at 609-926-3300 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we also serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, and Woodbury.