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Do seasonal time changes make roads more dangerous?

| Oct 30, 2018 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Shifting into or away from Daylight Savings Time is an adjustment, regardless of whether the hour is falling back or springing forward. It’s natural to be a little tired with any change. Unfortunately, too many drivers get behind the wheel when fatigued and the results are often fatal.

Research has indicated the time shifts (forward in the spring; backward in the fall) lead to a significant increase in wrecks on the Monday immediately after the change.

What is drowsy driving?

Warning signs of drowsy driving include:

•· Having trouble keeping eyes open

•· Drifting from the lane

•· Not remembering the last few miles driven

However, bodily signs are not always reliable. The most important factor is whether a driver has gotten at least seven hours of sleep.

Fatigued driving is a much more serious problem than is commonly realized. A report from AAA found the percentage of crashes caused by drowsy driving is nearly eight times higher than the federal estimates. In that report, 29 percent of surveyed drivers admitted to driving while drowsy.

A loss of sleep, a lack of concentration

While the increase in drowsy driving wrecks tends to be higher in the spring (when you “lose” an hour sleep), the fall period also sees an increase. It’s strange, but sometimes getting extra sleep can make you more drowsy than if you had just gotten your normal amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation leading into Monday morning causes crashes that may not have happened otherwise. This makes sense when you consider Monday is, for most people, the first work day after the time shift. It’s likely the first time they are getting in the car in the early morning hours after the time change.

Tennessee is a relatively dangerous state for driving, with above-average rates of DUIs and number of fatalities per 100 million miles traveled. The State also has fewer insured drivers. As drivers hit the road Monday morning, it would be beneficial to practice extra caution as the likelihood other motorists are overly tired and less alert is high.

REMEMBER: set your clocks back one hour this coming Saturday night, November 3, 2018, before you go to bed!