Early in March, America went through its annual tradition of adjusting the clocks ahead by an hour. If you were grouchy about the lost hour of sleep and felt like it threw off your entire day for weeks, you weren’t alone. Daylight Savings Time adjustments typically throw off the sleep cycles of many American workers — and drivers.
Frankly, Daylight Savings Time (DST) wreaks havoc on your entire body. The switch has been associated with everything from heart attacks to increased workplace injuries. Per a new study, DST is also linked to a 6% increase in fatal car wrecks.
Researchers looked at car accidents involving fatalities between 1996 and 2017 and found a consistent spike in deadly car wrecks every spring, right after the clocks were moved forward. When the Energy Policy Act moved DST from March to April, the spike moved with it, which is a strong indicator that it’s DST (not merely spring weather and the increasing daylight hours) that’s affecting American sleep and well-being.
Lest you think that a day or two of extra sleep is all it takes to recover from the switch, researchers noticed something else: It takes about two weeks for the aftereffects of DST to actually wear off.
Your geography also affects your ability to adjust to DST easily. In the eastern parts of the country, the sun rises and sets later than it does out west — which means that people in the western areas are slightly more sleep deprived. Correspondingly, Texas sees an 8% increase in car wrecks after DST every year.
If you were involved in a serious car accident after the start of March, you may have DST to blame. That does not, of course, negate the liability of the other driver who may have been behind the wheel while drowsy. Find out more about your legal right to compensation for your losses today.