When the clock changes in the spring, it brings longer days, indicating that summer is just around the corner. You may be one of the many people who enjoys the warm weather and more daylight into the evening, but you may also know that this means you have to drive to work in the mornings in the dark. This may make you feel sleepy and disoriented, like you are driving in the middle of the night.
Adjusting to a new schedule is difficult, and it can take weeks for a person to feel like he or she has caught up on sleep. It may not surprise you to learn that there is an increase in serious and fatal accidents in the weeks following daylight savings time. While losing an hour of sleep does not sound like a big deal, it can affect Maryland drivers more than they realize.
What’s so dangerous about the time change?
According to studies, people can actually experience a jetlagged feeling that lasts for days or weeks after the time change. In the spring, moving the clocks ahead an hour can result in feelings of sleep deprivation and drowsiness. You may not truly understand how big the impact of the time change can be until you consider the following factors:
- A drowsy driver can be just as dangerous as a drunk or distracted driver.
- Research suggests that fatal accidents increase by 6% in the week following daylight savings time.
- The time change can also have negative health impacts, which in turn can also impact how safe it is for a person to be behind the wheel.
- A person can feel the effects of the time change for a day or two, but others can struggle for weeks with adjusting.
A sleepy driver is less able to make smart decisions quickly, something which drivers often have to do. They are also not able to pay close attention to the road and think clearly. In some cases, a driver who is extremely drowsy may doze off while behind the wheel or drive for a lengthy distance without being able to recall the last several miles.
Is a change necessary?
There are many who believe that moving the clocks is no longer necessary and only makes things more dangerous for everyone. Regardless of why someone is tired behind the wheel, each person is responsible for making choices that do not needlessly endanger others. If you are the victim of an accident caused by a drowsy or sleepy driver, you could have grounds for a civil claim. Through this process, it is possible to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.