Daylight Savings Crashes Spike When the Clocks Go Forward
An hour may seem like no big deal but evidence of a spike in daylight savings crashes every year in March suggests otherwise.
Daylight saving time took effect at 2 a.m. on Sunday. Research shows the loss of an hour’s sleep leads to more crashes on the roads of Virginia and elsewhere.
AAA spokesman John Townsend said research points to a rise in fatal auto crashes after daylight savings arrives. His organization claims both the March change and the end of daylight savings in November is linked to a rise in car crashes.
Townsend warns driving with just four to five hours of sleep carries similar risks to driving drunk.
He pointed to research that shows the risk persists for the first six days of daylight saving time.
Drowsy driving is a massive problem before daylight savings is imposed. The 2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found three out of 10 drivers reported feeling sleepy behind the wheel.
In cities such as Washington DC and Virginia Beach, drivers typically get less sleep than in more rural areas.
Statistics by the University of Colorado pointed to a 17 percent rise in traffic deaths on the Monday after the clocks go forward. It’s hard to believe one hour would make such a major difference. However, the change in the hour appears to disrupt sleep patterns in March and November.
Studies show getting less than five hours sleep a night increases the risk of having a wreck four to five times. The AAA stated more than 250,000 people fall asleep at the wheel in America. Although they may fall asleep for a short period, just a few seconds can prove to be deadly.
Daylight savings dates back to 1918 when it was brought in by President Woodrow Wilson. There are some questions about whether it’s necessary at all in the 21st Century given that the Standard Time Act of 1918 was brought in to cut back on coal use and energy during the war.
We are concerned about the prevalence of daylight savings crashes. Please exercise care during your commute into Hampton Roads tomorrow and watch out for drowsy drivers on the roads. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a wreck, please call us for a free consultation at (757) 55-0077.