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Daylight saving time and driver fatigue

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Auto Accidents

Drivers must be alert to changing road conditions to avoid accidents. Traffic jams and heavy rains are not the only external factors that could make commuting in Illinois challenging. Low-light scenarios raise concerns, so some drivers don’t appreciate traveling at night. When daylight saving time arrives, the evening has more sunlight, but the change may bring more than a few accident concerns.

Daylight saving time and accidents

Worries about motor vehicle collisions during daylight saving time are not unfounded. Although drivers may get one more hour of sunlight during what would normally be nighttime travel, they will lose an hour of sleep in the morning. Less sleep could create dangers associated with drowsy driving.

A lengthy study published in Current Biology revealed a 6% increase in fatal accidents after the switch to daylight saving time. The study reviewed the facts surrounding 732,000 fatal crashes over a twenty-year duration. The study did not include accidents that only resulted in injuries or property damage, events that also happened.

Drowsiness and motor vehicle accidents

Even mild sleep deprivation may contribute to an accident. Daylight saving time’s arrival could create deprivation problems or aggravate one’s already present. Either way, a driver who suffers from fatigued-induced decreased reaction time or dulled mental perceptions might risk causing auto accidents when traveling while tired.

A tired driver might not notice a traffic light changed to red or that a pedestrian entered an intersection. Remaining inside a lane might become challenging, increasing the chances of a sideswipe accident. On single-lane highways, the dangers of a head-on collision exist.