Since 1884, Americans have been “falling back” to standard time at this time of year. The change was meant to produce energy savings for the country, but in reality, it usually leaves the average person feeling tired and fatigued. Studies have shown that there is a definite spike in pedestrian and motor vehicle accidents during the first two weeks following the Daylight Savings Time switch.
There are several recognized studies that conclude on average a 5-10% increase in motor vehicle accidents the week directly after the time change and twice as many auto accidents during the evening rush hour commute. In fact the Monday after the time change has a significant increase of accidents, most of them due to sleepiness. Shifting our circadian rhythm or biological clocks, it releases hormones that allow us to sleep more soundly. In reality, we are losing two hours of sleep; going to bed one hour later and two, we get up an hour earlier. No wonder we are more tired! The most affected individuals are traditional commuters. It will take the average person at least a week to change their “internal clock” back to where it should be.
Here in California, statewide crash analysis data confirms that there is an upward trend of motor vehicle crashes immediately following the clock change in fall. The peak day for accidents is Monday. Naturally drivers are commuting in the dark instead of the day light and that impact the driver’s reaction time. Statistically, accidents in California go down during the spring when we go back to Daylight Saving Time.
Pedestrian accidents are up a staggering 300% during the week after returning to standard time as well. Here in Orange County, more people than ever are utilizing public transportation due to high gas and vehicle maintenance costs. These types of accidents frequently cause serious personal injury and usually the person looses the battle between vehicles. If you typically walk during the early morning and evening hours, be extra cautious during the week following the time change.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to improve your vision at night; in fact, one’s night vision deteriorates over time. For example, a 50-year-old needs about twice as much light to see after dark as a 30 year old. Even young people who otherwise see well often suffer from a condition called night myopia. This tends to be a factor in low-light or dark conditions. Experts advise drivers to reduce speed while night driving and be extra cautious for pedestrians or bicyclists that may not be readily visible.
Additionally, besides automobile safety, falling back to standard time is a good way to remember home safety as well. Many homes use this time of the year to check batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also, check your fire extinguishers to be sure they are registering in the green zone.
Finally, if you have sustained any type of personal injury in this type or any type of accident, contact one the best law firms in Orange County, Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie. Call us at 1 888 752-7474 if you need advice on an accident caused by a driver described herein.