Indiana drivers haven’t had to deal with Daylight Saving Time (DST) nearly as long as most people in the U.S. have. That can make our roads even more dangerous than most in the days and weeks after DST begins and ends.
In March, “springing ahead” and losing an hour can certainly throw people’s body clocks off. The number of crashes on the road in those days following the start of DST, not unsurprising, rises.
However, “falling back,” and gaining an hour as DST ends can also throw people’s sleep/wake cycles off. The number of crashes at this time of year – which we’re coming up on Nov. 6 – also increases. Research has found that the effect of losing an hour “can be felt on some of the skills that affect the quality of driving – concentration, alertness behind the wheel, and reaction time to potential hazards,” according to AAA.
It’s not just about the effect of the time change on the body
You may be one of those people who can fly across continents without feeling jet lagged and certainly isn’t bothered by an hour’s change. However, that change makes a difference to the conditions you’re dealing with during your daily commutes, school drop-offs and pick-ups and other responsibilities.
Aside from having to deal with drivers whose driving skills are affected by the time change, you may suddenly find yourself driving into a blinding sunrise on the way to work. You may find that your trip home from picking up your child at band practice is in the dark.
There are precautions that can help keep you safe
The best way to lower your chances of being involved in a crash after DST ends is to slow down and be extra watchful for drivers who may not have automatic headlights and forget to turn them on. You also want to be on the watch for pedestrians and cyclists who may not be wearing reflective clothing because they weren’t expecting it to be dark. Be sure you are visible, whether you’re driving, biking or walking.
It’s crucial to remember that the time change is no excuse for a driver to cause a crash. Everyone’s still responsible for driving safely. If you’ve suffered injuries in a crash caused by a distracted, negligent driver, don’t settle for less compensation than you deserve for your expenses and damages. Having legal guidance can make a big difference.