When the clock “falls back” marking the end of Daylight Saving Time next week, beware of the increased risk in drowsy driving collisions and auto accidents. Daylight Saving Time ends for most of the United States at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 5th, which means earlier sunsets and an extra hour of sleep.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research reveals that drowsy driving-related crashes frequently occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or in the late-afternoon. Both of these times are when drivers experience a dip in circadian rhythm (i.e. – your internal human body clock). In addition, about 100,000 police-reported crashes a year are caused by driver fatigue, according to the NHTSA.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is the week following the end of Daylight Saving Time (November 5-12) and serves as a reminder to drivers to be especially cautious, drive alert and get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel.
Being overly tired can cause the same level of impairment as alcohol and drugs, slowing the driver reaction time, causing lapses in judgment, and impairing both vision and the ability to process information quickly. Drivers do not have to be that tired to encounter this level of impairment. Being awake for 20 hours or more is enough to impair a driver to the same level as the legal blood alcohol concentration in all states.
The National Sleep Foundation found that 103 million drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. Other findings from this study included:
- Adults 18-29 are more likely drive when they are drowsy compared to other groups (71 percent, vs. 52 percent for drivers 30-64 and 9 percent for drivers 65 and older);
- Men are more likely than women to drive drowsy, (56 percent to 45 percent), and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving, (22 percent versus 12 percent).
- Parents and other adults with children in their households are more likely to drive drowsy than those without children, (59 percent to 45 percent).
- Shift workers who work late evening and early morning hours are more likely than their colleagues who work day shifts to be drowsy when they drive to work, (36 percent versus 25 percent).
The risk of a fatal car crash is three times greater at night than during daylight hours, according to the National Safety Council. More animals, tired drivers, and intoxicated drivers all play a role, but decreased visibility is oftentimes the main culprit.
The National Safety Council Recommends the following to help keep you and your loved ones safe while driving at night:
- Make sure your headlights are properly cleaned for the best visibility.
- Dim your dashboard lights.
- Do not look directly at oncoming lights.
- If you wear glasses, ask your optometrist about anti-reflective lenses.
- Make sure your windshield is clean and streak-free.
- Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and decreased braking time.
If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident or suffer injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important that you contact an experienced Orlando Auto Accident Attorney immediately. Florida auto accident victims have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident, so it is important you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Our dedicated team of accidents attorneys is here for you 24/7 and can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail.