On November 1, 2020, daylight savings time officially ends. The change in seasons means it gets darker earlier and one side effect is an increased risk of car accidents and injuries. People leaving from work are routinely driving home and pedestrians are walking home in the dark. This can lead to a dangerous environment and potential increase in pedestrian-car accident injuries. In fact, researchers have discovered that the risk of pedestrian deaths at 6 pm is far higher in November than any other month.
Some studies have found that the abrupt time change that “falling behind” brings doesn’t leave enough time for people to adapt. This can mean that commuters still act as if it is light out even when the sun has already set. Drivers may drive faster than they normally would at night and pedestrians may not be as attentive as they should be.
Research has also shown that it takes about a week for most people to acclimate to the change in time and resume their normal levels of safe driving. Although we get an extra hour of sleep in the fall, this still results in changes in sleep patterns and behaviors. Some people can even suffer from sleep-deprivation because of the change.
How Falling Back Creates Hazards for Drivers
There is one thing that is undeniable about the habit of falling back during November each year – it results in the loss of an hour of sleep and causes it to get darker earlier. Both of these can have an impact on drivers, increasing the risk of car accidents and injuries.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), shorter days and fatigue increase the risk of drowsy driving, while driver vision is impaired once the sun goes down. Even after your body and sleep schedule adjust to the changes, decreased visibility creates real hazards on the road. To combat these effects, the NSC recommends the following tips:
- Check your vehicle to make sure your headlights are cleaned and aimed correctly.
- Dim your dashboard lights, which can create distractions when driving at night.
- If you wear glasses to correct your vision, make sure they have anti-glare lenses.
- Avoid looking directly into another vehicle’s headlights, which can cause momentary blindness.
- Take your time in getting where you need to go and keep extra space between you and other drivers to compensate for slower reaction times.
If you are one of the many people who have ongoing problems with your night vision, consult with your family physician as well as an eye doctor. In some cases, your best bet may be to simply limit the amount of time you are out driving after dark.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have been injured in a crash caused by a driver who was texting and driving or some other distracted driving behavior, contact a Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have. The legal team from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled Virginia car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.