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Daylight savings time: Beware of drowsy driving

On March 8, daylight savings time will start. Everyone will set their clocks forward one hour in anticipation, but we will also lose an hour of sleep.

Many people are willing to give up an hour of sleep to welcome back longer days and more hours of sunlight. However, all drivers must ensure they remain vigilant and especially defensive on the roads around this time of year.

Studies find car accidents increase around daylight savings time

Reuters recently reported on a study that found deadly auto accidents increase by roughly 6% during the week after the daylight savings time change.

This is generally because losing an hour of sleep interrupts your circadian rhythm, which can affect you even days after the time change. This increases the incidents of drowsy driving, which can lead to:

  • Slow reaction times to hazards on the road;
  • Weaving or drifting out of lanes; and
  • Even falling asleep behind the wheel.

The National Sleep Foundation even compares drowsy driving to drunk driving, reporting that lack of sleep can affect your brain just as much as alcohol. Drowsy driving poses a serious risk to all drivers on Tennessee roads, especially during daylight savings time.

How can you prepare for the time change?

The good news is we know the dates of daylight savings time far in advance. This allows drivers to prepare before they hit the road to avoid drowsy driving and other risks on the road during this time of year.

Tennessee drivers should:

  • Adjust their schedule a few days before the time change;
  • Ensure they get enough sleep before and after daylight savings time; and
  • Be extra careful driving during the morning and evening commutes, when drowsy driving is at its peak.

It might be beneficial to avoid driving in peak rush hour times during the week after the time change to decrease the chance of a serious accident.

REMEMBER: set your clocks forward one hour this coming Saturday night, March 7, 2020, before you go to bed!

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