Daylight Saving Time, or DST, ends at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, so here’s your first reminder to set your clocks back Saturday night. Enjoy the extra hour of sleep you get that night! Just in case you are curious, the time around the time change, or end of DST, happens to be one of the busiest times of year for car accidents. Here are some interesting items to note from an article by CBC News Canada.
There is an increase in traffic related fatalities on the Monday following the start of Daylight Saving Time according to a 2014 study conducted by the University of Colorado. The 17% increase that lasted most of the week when we “spring forward” is attributed to drivers being sleep deprived and drowsy driving. The good news is we don’t have to worry about that for until March 14 of next year.
Falling back tends to have an adverse effect on pedestrians however. According to a study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 found that pedestrians are three times more likely to be fatally struck by cars after the time change, specifically after 6:00 p.m. Researchers believe the increased number is attributed to the earlier arrival of darkness making it harder for drivers to see pedestrians. Once drivers spring forward, pedestrian related deaths fall with the longer daylight hours.
There is also a corresponding increase in the number of accidents involving animals. Car accidents where small and larger animals are struck spike when DST begins and ends (see https://wiseinsurancegroup.com/car-insurance-and-hit-or-miss-an-animal/). Researchers attribute it to animals having difficulty adjusting to changes in human driving behavior and times. If you’re in an area where deer and other animals are, this next week is a great time to be watchful for them when driving to or from work.
Whatever the reasons are for the increase in car accidents when Daylight Saving Time begins or ends, now is a great time to plan for it. Here are four recommendations for drivers and pedestrians for next week and beyond.
- Get plenty of sleep in the coming week; drowsy driving is attributed to 16.5% of all deadly traffic accidents in the US.
- Avoid distractions during your commute (put down the phone, unplug the earbuds or Bluetooth, and pay attention to the road)
- Be alert for animals and pedestrians during your morning and evening commutes.
- Pedestrians should consider wearing lighter colored clothing so as to stand out more and never assume the driver will see you when crossing the street.
Since Halloween is this Saturday evening, be sure to look out for children in costumes staring about 5:00 p.m. Sometimes is pretty hard to see out of the masks or to notice the little vampires wearing black!
Nothing’s more important to you arriving alive, and following these four suggestions will help you and those around you do just that. Share your comments, questions, and suggestions with me on my Google +, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!