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With Daylight Savings Come An Increase In Auto Accidents

Next week (March 13, 2016) marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, as we move our clocks ahead one hour. This also means one less hour of sleep for most of us Saturday night. But did you know it could also mean more accidents for you on the road?

Some studies have shown that any disruption in sleep cycle (like changing the clocks ahead or back an hour) impacts alertness and feelings of tiredness. This means it can increase the prevalence or the danger of automobile accidents because people are not as aware or alert when they're on the road.

Changing the time that the sun rises and falls by a whole hour when we change the clocks confuses our bodies, whether we are gaining or losing an hour, because the body's natural sleep pattern and circadian rhythm is to be awake during daylight and asleep when it's dark. Simply going from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in one night throws the body for a loop.

Help combat the effects with these easy steps:

  • Go to bed, and wake up at new times, 10-15 minutes earlier on the days leading up to Saturday's changeover. This can help the transition to new sleep and wake times more gradual and easier than a one-day, full hour, switch. For instance, on Monday, if you normally get up at 7, set your clock for 6:45. Monday night, if you normally go to bed at 10:00, go to bed at 9:45. On Wednesday, change your morning alarm to 6:30, and your bedtime to 9:30. On Friday, set your alarm at 6:15, and bedtime at 9:15. Then, on Saturday, wake up at your "normal" time of 7:00, even though it will be like 6:00 to your body.
  • Make sure you get a lot of light and some sunshine during waking hours and limit the amount of bright light or sunlight let into your house during sleeping hours. This helps stop your internal clock from thinking it's daytime in the middle of the night.
  • If you can, take a few extra minutes to get to and from work on Monday, so you don't feel rushed or add to the feeling of discord your body may be experiencing because of the time difference.

As always, you want to be aware and alert behind the wheel, and those around you are hopefully doing the same. Studies have shown, though, that because of the effects of a time change, the prevalence of car accidents increases in the days after a switch while people adjust to the difference. Be careful when you are on the road, avoid avoidable injuries and if you are in an auto accident, be sure to know your rights and how you can be compensated for your injuries. Speak with an experienced Auto Injury Attorney today. 

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