During Daylight Savings Time (DST), clocks are turned forward an hour, which moves an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. This means that the sun rises and sets later and changes the amount of sunlight you’ll be dealing with if you’re driving late at night or early in the morning.
According to a report by the U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System that looked at 732,835 car accidents between 1996 and 2017, fatal car crashes increased by 6.5% in the first six days following a time change.
Tips to combat the time change and help avoid an auto accident:
- Prioritize Getting Enough Sleep
- Be Aware of Dangers on the Road
- Prepare Your Vehicle
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Prioritize Getting Enough Sleep
You might have heard that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Like alcohol, sleep deprivation can have a nasty effect on the body. You’re likely to feel groggy and less alert behind the wheel.
If you’re finding it hard to adjust to the time change, there are some simple things you can do to help. Avoid heavy meals for dinner and avoid drinking coffee or alcohol right before going to sleep.
If you’re feeling groggy after the time switch, schedule in a few naps throughout the day. Eventually, your body will adjust.
Be Aware of Dangers on the Road
Fall is peak season for deer and car collisions. Be extra careful as you drive through areas where wildlife might be present, such as wooded areas or rural roads.
Make sure you're making eye contact with the drivers around you when doing things like merging or changing lanes. By being extra alert, you’ll be able to react quickly and avoid possible car accidents caused by other drivers, wildlife, or pedestrians.
Prepare Your Vehicle
As winter is just around the corner, it’s important to keep up with vehicle maintenance to prevent any possible issues. This includes the basics like cleaning your windshield, getting an oil change as needed, and having your tire pressure checked.
For added safety, you should get or create an emergency kit for your car with things like blankets, water, snacks, and a change of clothes.
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