Daylight Savings Time Brings Fatal Car Crashes

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Highway Safety Challenge is reporting a consistently high number of fatal traffic crashes on Virginia’s roadways.  In past years, Virginia has seen increases in the number of fatal crashes year over year.  So far, in 2020, that number is on par with the same time in 2019.  With the change to daylight savings time comes new challenges on the roads.  Daylight savings time brings fatal car crashes in the United States.  Lose an hour, but don’t lose your life!

University of Boulder Study

A research study out of the University of Boulder is reporting that fatal car accidents spike by 6% during the work week after the time change to daylight savings time.  The study shows that there are about 28 additional fatal car accidents during daylight savings time each year.

This year, daylight savings time will come on March 8th, and clocks will shift forward by one out.  Many people will miss out on sleep and drive to work while it’s still dark.  Both of these factors play important roles in causing accidents.The study shows that the bulk of the additional fatal accidents occur in the morning during the week after the time change.

The University of Boulder study looked at 22 years of data.  In that 22 years, 627 people died in fatal car accidents during daylight savings time shift. But, the data that was available only included the most severe accidents. So, the researchers in the study believe that the results may actually underestimate the true risk to drivers during the “spring forward.”

The Colorado study also indicated that more accidents happen after the “fall back” time change too.  During “fall back,” darkness comes sooner and crashes tend to happen in the evenings.  But, during “fall back,” there is a drop in morning accidents.  The drop in morning accidents with the rise in evening accidents balances each other out in the fall.  So, there is no real change in the number of fatal crashes in the fall.

How to keep yourself safe on the roads during daylight savings time?

With daylight savings time fast approaching, how can we keep ourselves safe on the roads?  Here are some tips:

  1. First, inspect your vehicle.  Check your headlights to make sure they are working and not too dim.  Have any broken or dim lights replaced.  You want other drivers to be able to see you!
  2. Next, make sure to get plenty of sleep.  Daylight savings time messes with everyone’s sleep schedule.  Losing an hour of sleep can mean that you might be drowsy when you drive home from work.  Avoiding drowsy driving is important since many accidents happen when you are tired.  Tired drivers often do not pay attention as closely as they usually would.
  3. Drive slowly and keep a proper following distance.  When you are driving during times of low visibility, one of the most important things you can do is to drive slowly.  Reducing your speed helps minimize the mistakes of other drivers as well as pedestrians.  Along with driving slowly, making sure you are keeping a proper following distance is equally important to preventing crashes.
  4. Watch out for pedestrians and school children.  Be alert for pedestrians and school kids who might be on the side of the road.  Be especially cautious at crosswalks.  It may be more difficult to see someone getting ready to cross in the dark of the morning. Additionally, pedestrians or students who are using earphones may not hear your car approaching.

Check out our article on drowsy driving here.

Talk with a Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one suffered significant injuries at the hands of a drowsy driver, the Ritchie Law Firm is here to help.  The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.

Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.