Daylight saving time was begun with the idea that if clocks were turned an hour forward in the spring, we would have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. Turning them back in fall gives us an extra hour in the morning. Around the world, there are countries like Argentina and Russia, that used to use daylight saving time, but no longer do. Other countries, like China, have never used it at all.
In the United States, we still change our clocks every spring and fall; but now researchers are making the case that daylight saving time could be hazardous to our health. Accident rates are higher in the weeks that follow the time change, as are incidents of heart attacks. One study found a 6.3 percent in fatal car accidents over the six days after the clocks are changed.
An hour of lost sleep may not sound like much. However, considering that some people only sleep five or six hours a night anyway, losing an hour puts them well under the recommended minimum of seven hours. Studies show that adjusting the body’s sleep cycle may take at least a week during which time people are at risk for drowsy driving. A sleep deprived driver has the same reduced function and slower reaction time as a drunk driver. These still-sleepy commuters also have to adjust to making their morning drive in the dark. The rate of pedestrian accidents is higher after clocks are changed for daylight saving time.
In the fall, even though we gain an extra hour of sleep, things are no better. In fact, some people think they have an extra hour to stay out drinking that weekend, thus raising their risk of being in a drunk driving accident and injuring other innocent drivers. New York City even launched a safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of car and pedestrian accidents following the daylight saving time change reminding city dwellers to be vigilant once daylight has faded. Truck accidents can also be a problem because their drivers have irregular schedules making it even harder to adjust to the change in time.
Some would prefer to eliminate the clock change because the original argument about saving energy used to light homes by having more daylight hours really does not hold up anymore. However, at present in the U.S. everyone except for those living in Arizona and Hawaii must deal with the safety issues that arise twice a year due to daylight saving time. To minimize your risk of being in a car accident, get plenty of sleep the night before the time change. Be extra aware when driving, especially during the hours that are newly darkened. If you become drowsy, pull over and rest rather than drive while fatigued.
Find out about your legal options from an experienced Wilmington car accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. if you have been injured in a car accident. We will seek maximum compensation on your behalf so that you can recover from your injuries. Call 302-565-5445 today or contact us online. With offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, we represent clients throughout Delaware.
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