As the end of Daylight Saving Time approaches, millions of American adults are bracing for what that means in terms of kids’ bedtimes, when pets will need to be let out in the morning and adjusted hours of darkness and light.
On the flip side, many people understandably look forward to gaining an extra hour of sleep. Yet, that extra hour comes at a cost for too many motorists. There are road safety concerns associated with this seasonal change that often go overlooked.
What is about to change and how to prepare
As most of the country “falls back” and sets clocks back one hour, it means shorter daylight hours, particularly in the evening. This reduction in daylight can lead to decreased visibility during traditional evening commute hours, which is a significant safety concern, as this is one of the most dangerous times of day to drive no matter how much sunshine is streaming through someone’s windshield. Drivers may find themselves navigating in darkness, which can increase the risk of accidents.
Also, while gaining an extra hour of sleep may sound appealing, the sudden shift in time can disrupt the body’s internal clock. Many people experience sleep disturbances and fatigue during the days and weeks after the time change, which can impair their concentration and reaction times while driving.
It takes time for people to adjust to a new time schedule. As a result, it’s important to be particularly alert on the road, to increase your usual following distance to allow more time for emergency braking and to ensure that your vehicle’s lights are in good, working order. By making these efforts now, you can stay safer once the clocks fall back.