What’s the harm in an hour of lost sleep? As a Memphis car crash attorney, I’ve learned that the answer is: more than it may seem at first glance. Every year, daylight saving time changes shake up our typical routines. The shift can make us more accident prone, and research has linked the annual “spring forward” to an increase in fatal car accidents.
Fatal car crashes in the U.S. increase by 6% following the springtime switch to daylight saving time.
If you feel a little foggy or slow after we turn the clocks ahead, you’re not alone. Daylight saving time leaves many of us feeling slightly thrown off. It’s understandable. The change in time affects our sleep. Naturally, sleep disruptions adversely impact our cognitive abilities.
A 1999 study led by Johns Hopkins and Stanford University researchers looked at more than two decades’ worth of data related to fatal car accidents. They discovered that on the Monday following the daylight saving time change, there were 83.5 fatalities. In comparison, on an average Monday, there were 78.2 deaths.
More recently, comprehensive research from the University of Colorado Boulder drew similar conclusions. Analysis of 732,000 accidents over the past two decades found that the annual change to daylight saving time is linked to a 6% increase in fatal vehicle collisions.
“Our study provides additional, rigorous evidence that the switch to daylight saving time in spring leads to negative health and safety impacts,” senior author Celine Vetter said to Science Daily. “These effects on fatal traffic accidents are real, and these deaths can be prevented.”
The daylight saving time change also affects workplace safety.
Not only do sleep disruptions put you at greater risk of getting to work safely, they may also lead to more accidents once you arrive. A 2009 research study looked at U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration injury data from 1983 to 2006. Their analysis found:
- A 5.7% increase in workplace accidents on the Monday after we spring forward
- A 68% jump in workdays lost to injuries
The number of workdays lost from these daylight saving time-related accidents is a marker of severity. It speaks to how hazardous the switch can be.
Stay safe the Monday after we change to daylight saving time
Simple habits can help make the transition smoother. I suggest practicing the following tips.
- Open those curtains right as you wake up. While you may not feel like doing so, it’s one of the best ways to get ahead of the change.
- Exercise in the morning. Getting up and moving will keep you alert.
- Go to bed at the time you usually do.
Speak to a Memphis Car Crash Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured or in accident, we are here for you. Give us a call at (901) 27-2100 or contact us here to speak with an experienced Memphis car crash attorney.