From March 8 until November 1, 2020, people across the country enjoy the benefits of later sunrises and sunsets thanks to Daylight Saving Time (DST). However, what many drivers do not realize is that the week after the start of DST can be especially risky.
According to researchers at the University of Colorado, the number of fatal car accidents increases by six percent in the week following DST; this means that for every 100 roadway fatalities expected, 106 will actually occur. So what causes this spike in highway deaths immediately after DST? Several factors seem to contribute to the problem.
Darkness in the Morning
Morning commuters who became accustomed to driving to work in the light must now deal with darkness after DST. This means that they may have lowered visibility, particularly if weather conditions become adverse. Most statisticians agree that driving at night leads to more accidents than driving in the day. Therefore, it makes sense that motorists will encounter more issues in the week following DST until they adjust to leaving the house at dawn. Defensive driving is the best way to alleviate this issue.
Dangers of Sun Glare
Many drivers have a daily driving routine. Before DST occurs, that routine may not have been affected by sun glare. After DST, sun glare could become a huge issue. When sunlight glints on windshields, motorists may have difficulty seeing oncoming traffic or obstacles ahead. The best ways to mitigate sun glare are to keep the windshield clean, wear protective sunglasses, and try not to drive directly toward the rising or setting sun.
One of the biggest downsides to DST is that everyone gives up an hour of sleep to have more sunshine during the evening. Although an hour might not sound like a lot of time, it can seriously affect the body’s natural sleep cycle. This means that drivers are more likely to be tired in the mornings after DST until they adjust to losing an hour of sleep. Consequently, every motorist should aim to go to bed early before DST to maintain the suggested eight hours of sleep that adults need to be alert.
Harder to See Pedestrians and Cyclists
People who walk or cycle to work or school are at risk of being hit after DST. Due to the light being dim in the morning, drivers may have trouble seeing walkers, joggers, or bike riders until they are upon them. Ideally, pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright and reflective clothing, walk only on sidewalks and in crosswalks, and walk on roads with wide shoulders. Drivers can do their part by staying vigilant.
Motorists Go out More Often in the Evening
Individuals and families tend to take advantage of the sunnier nights and engage in more activities. If they are driving more frequently, they are more apt to get into crashes. It is vital to be aware and avoid distracted driving to lessen the chances of a dangerous car accident.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Offer Counsel to Auto Accident Victims and Their Families
If you were injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, speak to one of our dedicated Virginia Beach car accident lawyers today. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we pride ourselves in representing all injured car accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 757-352-2237 to schedule a free consultation about your case. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients in Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.