Get Ready To Fall Back! Tips for Safe Driving As Daylight Saving Time Ends
This fall, daylight saving time ends on Sunday, November 3rd. While “falling back” gives us an extra hour of sleep and more light when we get up in the mornings — all good things — the end of daylight saving can also create driving hazards.
Longer nights induce drowsy driving
It’s easy to assume that with one additional hour of sleep, road users will be more alert and aware. But various studies claim that the same may be true when we “fall back.” Why do we have trouble adjusting to the time change? It’s our natural Circadian Rhythm.
Our bodies’ internal clocks tell us to sleep when it’s dark and wake when it’s light. But with the clocks moving back an hour, sunset also comes earlier than before. Couple this, with the ever-increasing shorter days as our side of the hemisphere moves further away from the sun, and we have long, dark nights ahead.
Since darkness signals a natural inclination for sleep, it stands to reason early nightfall makes us more prone to drowsy driving — especially as we adjust to evening commutes during the first week of the time change.
It’s not a coincidence that Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® occurs as daylight saving ends this year.
Darker roads mean increased chances for car accidents
According to the National Safety Council, traffic fatalities are three times greater at night than during the day. While drowsy driving and drunk drivers do play a role, decreased visibility is the main culprit.
During the spring and summer months, people generally get up and return home while the roads and highways are brighter and hazards are easier to see. When drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcycle riders have spent the past eight months commuting in a well-lit setting, it may be hard to adjust and compensate for less light or poor weather conditions.
Think about this…
Ninety percent of your reaction time depends on your ability to see what’s around you. And since your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision decrease after sundown, your chances for a car accident tend to increase.
Driving tips for the days ahead
Fortunately, safely navigating the long nights ahead is easy. Here are a few simple tips.
- Prep Car for Nighttime Driving
It may be common sense, but it bears repeating. Check and clean your headlights, taillights, brake lights, and signal lights. After all, you want to see and be seen by other drivers on the road.
- Use Your Low Beams and High Beams Strategically
Use your low beams when you need to see about 250 feet in front of you and high beams when your visibility range is 350 to 500 feet. And, of course, dim your high beams when following another driver or approaching an oncoming car.
- Get Sufficient Rest
Keep your regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time you normally would so you can benefit from that extra hour of sleep.
- Plan Ahead
Give yourself plenty of time to get where you want to go.
- Be Cautious
Approach all crosswalks, intersections, and transit stops with caution, as it will be harder to see pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders.
- Drive safely
Heed the speed limits and adjust your speed accordingly to the weather conditions and maintain a safe following distance so you’re prepared to react under any situation.
If you have been involved in accident that could have been caused by the negligence of others on the road, please contact our experienced attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie and let us fight to help you get your life back on track. Call us today at 888-329-9023.
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