Were there more motor vehicle accidents around daylight savings time?

Tuesday April 13, 2021

In early March, there begins a shift in the seasons, and warmer weather starts to be felt across the country. Days also start getting longer across the Northern Hemisphere, and due to this, the policy in the United States is to move the clocks forward by one hour, marking the start of daylight saving time.

This shift enables many to enjoy lighter evenings while still waking up with the sunrise, and it’s something that is welcomed by many. But those who have extremely tight schedules and those who have to get up extremely early in the morning do not welcome the change so readily. Missing out on just one hour of sleep can have a detrimental effect on cognitive alertness, particularly if you are not already getting enough sleep.

This subtle shift in the clock has been found to have potentially disastrous effects on people’s lives. The following is an overview of the impact that the shift in the clock in early March has on motor vehicle accidents.

Decreased alertness

Getting one hour fewer of sleep and still needing to carry out daily activities as usual can mean that you will engage in activities feeling less alert. If you are driving, you will have slower response times and may not make optimal decisions.

An increase in car accidents and fatalities

In January 2020, a journal in Current Biology was published. It found that in some regions, there was an 8% spike in fatal accidents in the week after daylight savings time is initiated. This effect can be observed every year, no matter the date or time of the month in which daylight savings occurs.

If you were involved in an accident in early March, daylight savings time could have been a factor in the causation of the accident. However, this does not mean that you cannot take action to file a personal injury claim if you believe that the other driver was at fault.

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