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Do Drowsy Driving Accidents Increase After the Time Change?

drowsy driving time change

People across the country are getting ready for spring, and with that means the beginning of daylight saving time (DST). DST has been the topic of debate for years, and many believe the practice is antiquated. Studies have shown that DST can have negative effects, such as extreme drowsiness. Drowsiness following the time change can particularly affect drivers.

According to research from the University of Colorado, during the week following the start of DST in spring, there is an increase of nearly six percent of fatal car accidents. The lost hour of sleep can impact a person’s internal body clock, causing issues with their digestion, heart, and sleep schedule.

DST causes the morning commute to be darker, although the evening commute will be lighter. The combination of drowsiness and driving in the dark also increases car accidents.

Drowsy driving is often compared to drunk driving. In fact, according to the CDC, driving after staying awake for 18 hours is the same as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. If you drive after being awake for 24 hours straight, that is the equivalent of driving with a 0.10 percent BAC level. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you are 40 percent more likely to get into a drowsy driving crash if you work more than 60 hours a week.

Tips for DST

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsing driving causes over 100,000 car accidents each year, almost 50,000 injuries, and about 800 deaths. It is important to know how to prevent a drowsy driving accident, especially after the time change.

The following are tips to help you prevent a drowsy driving accident:

  • Watch for the signs: If you are driving and you begin to notice signs of drowsiness, it will be a good time to pull over and rest. Signs of drowsiness include yawning, tired eyes, excessive blinking, drifting in and out of your lane, and not remembering the last few miles you have driven.
  • Adjust your clocks: A few days before DST, adjust your sleep pattern. Go to sleep 15 or 30 minutes earlier than normal to better become acclimated to when the time does change.
  • Sleep better: Limit distractions before you go to bed and wind yourself down. Try to get the recommended seven to eight hours, and stay away from the television and cellphone. Getting better sleep limits the chance of feeling drowsy the next day.
  • Be alert: You must always account for other drivers who may be drowsy, so keep a safe distance between yourself and other motorists. Keep in mind that the morning will be darker after DST and the evening will be brighter.
  • Get some rest: If you do find yourself getting drowsy while driving, find a safe area to pull over and rest for 20 minutes. Getting out of the car to stretch your legs can help you wake up and get your blood moving.

What Should I Do if I am in a Drowsy Driving Accident?

After a drowsy driving car accident, check yourself and your passengers. You should:

  • Contact the police.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Obtain the other driver’s information, including their name, address, and contact information.
  • Obtain witness information if possible.
  • Take photographs of the scene.

In Delaware, the statute of limitations allows two years from the date of the accident to bring a personal injury lawsuit.

What Is Modified Comparative Negligence?

Delaware applies the modified comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases. The damages rewarded to the plaintiff depends on what percentage of fault they carry which is decided by the court. For instance, if a plaintiff in an accident case is eligible to receive $100,000 but is found to be 25 percent liable for the accident, then 25 percent of the total damage award would be deducted. However, if the plaintiff is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, then they do not receive any compensation.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Those Injured by Drowsy Drivers

You may get enough rest for the start of DST, but you cannot account for other drivers. If you have been injured by a drowsy driver, you should contact our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. for assistance. We look forward to helping you. Call us at 302-656-5445 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.