It’s been a few days since we turned our clocks back an hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST), and many of us have already noticed the difference. Aside from some incorrect clocks that still need adjusting, that extra 60 minutes can have a real impact on our lives. According to researchers, DST may increase our risk for heart attacks, and may also increase consumption of energy in some states. Several studies also claim that adjusting our clocks for Daylight Saving Time can increase the risks of auto accidents.
The primary problem of DST and its impact on our roadways, according to safety experts, is that traffic accident risks are higher when it’s dark outside. For us daylight savers, this leads to the questions of when we want sunlight - during the morning or in the evening. Here’s what researchers discovered about the issue.
- Aside from drivers having poor visibility when it’s dark out, DST often requires motorists to adapt quickly to driving in the dark. Your evening commute home this week, for example, may have been much darker because of the time change. According to experts, this sudden change means that many motorists are still driving as if it were light out for the first few weeks, that they may drive faster, and that pedestrians may be less attentive.
- Some advocates who want DST implemented throughout the year believe that daylight should be allocated in the evening, when more people are active. At 6:00 in the evening, for instance, more people are awake and active than at 6:00 in the morning.
- Statistics can support the implementation of DST year-round. According to a 2004 study, an additional hour of sunlight in the evening during the year would save roughly 170 pedestrian lives and the lives of close to 200 motorists.
- On the other end of the argument, child safety advocates believe more sunlight in the morning can improve safety for children commuting to school in the morning.
It may be some time before America chooses to abolish Daylight Saving Time, but in the interim, the conversation can help remind us all about the ever-present risks we face when we venture onto public roads and highways, especially at night. Because these risks always exist, it becomes the responsibility of drivers to ensure they are always paying attention, driving cautiously, and obeying the rules of the road. When they fail to uphold this duty and cause car accidents, injured victims may have the right to pursue compensation for their damages.
If you or someone you love has been injured in any type of traffic accident caused by the negligence or carelessness of another, our Santa Barbara car accident lawyers at Santa Barbara Injury Law Group are available to help you learn more about your rights and the personal injury claim process during a FREE consultation.