Connecticut Drivers Must Remain Alert as the Roads Become More Dangerous
This Sunday, many Americans from coast to coast will relish in the extra hour of sleep the end of daylight saving time offers. Once they wake, however, they’ll be faced with the task of adapting to roads that are half as safe as they were when they went to sleep.
While drivers may argue they’re more alert after the extra hour of rest, the darker commute conditions pose a threat to drivers, especially during rush hour, directly affecting the safety of the road.
AAA published a press release to warn drivers of the dangers, citing statistics from Connecticut during 2019’s end of daylight savings. UConn Crash Data Repository reported 2.5 times more accidents between 5 pm and 6 pm in the two weeks after daylight savings compared to the two before.
These numbers are up from the year before. UConn’s 2018 data saw a 159% increase in car accidents during the 5 pm to 6 pm time slot following the time change. They also found that pedestrian accidents doubled.
Why the Risk Increases
Beyond the change in conditions brought by the onslaught of fall weather, with darker skies and some states battling the snow, many attribute the hike in crashes to the mental effects of a changed circadian rhythm. This change in a driver’s natural sleep patterns can influence their driving by:
- Affecting their ability to concentrate, pay attention, and make decisions
- Affecting their alertness due to drowsiness
- Slowing their reflexes
Many also suggest that seasonal affective disorder plays a significant role. Shorter, dark days can cause seasonal depression to worsen, making those who suffer from it less attentive and alert.
How to Lower the Risk of an Accident
Daylight saving time poses a danger to everyone on the road, not just drivers. Bicyclists and pedestrians should also remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
Drivers can keep themselves and others safe by remembering to:
- Abide by the speed limit
- Drive defensively
- Focus on the road and the cars around you
- Maintain a safe distance between you and others on the road
- Use your headlights and keep them clean
- Use your high beams when you are the only person on the road
- Yield to pedestrians
Pedestrians and bicyclists can play an active role in keeping everyone safe by ensuring they:
- Avoid listening to music so they can hear traffic nearby
- Avoid roads without sidewalks
- Do not jaywalk
- Use the street corners to enter the crosswalk rather than crossing on a diagonal or between parked cars
- Walk facing traffic if on a sidewalk-less road
- Wear reflective clothing and use a flashlight
Adopt and maintain these safe roadway habits to protect yourself after we change our clocks and beyond.
If you have been involved in a car accident, contact Sette & Parnoff, PC for experienced legal assistance.