Daylight Saving Time (DST) is painful. Losing a precious hour of your day is tough to accept, even if it’s technically only one day. While it’s encouraging to leap ahead and look forward to spring and the extra hours of light in the evening, the aftermath of the switch to DST is lethal on Michigan highways.
A report by the University of British Columbia found that the number of car accidents rises 17 percent in the first week after we turn our clocks forward. The cause of the accidents, according to experts: A change in sleep patterns. Plenty of people find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep in the first several days following the shift to Daylight Saving Time.
When Close Calls Become Auto Accidents
Every time you get behind the wheel, there is the potential for getting into a car accident. But most of the time, people are involved in nothing more than close calls. With serious fatigue in the mix, near-misses become serious car crashes. You hesitate just a little too long before you hit the brake, you neglect to see that person in the crosswalk, you are doubly distracted because you’re indulging in the bad habit of using your phone while driving.
And it’s not just you who’s dealing with the sleep deprivation. Millions of other people on the roads during that morning or evening commute to work, school, daycare, or wherever they have to go have lost an hour too. As always, you have to be diligent about your own driving behavior, but also be extra aware of the behavior of others.
More Workplace Injuries Because of DST
DST can be deadly in other ways too. Beyond auto accidents, springing forward is also a bad time for heart attacks, workplace injuries, and accidental deaths. A study in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that most American slept about 40 minutes less than normal on Sunday night. Lack of sleep can lead to forgetfulness, impaired memory, lack of focus, and slower reflexes.
Workplaces can use the knowledge that employees will not be on top of their game following DST by offering a later start time, or scheduling more dangerous or intense work for the following week, after people have had time to adjust to the time change. Improving safety is a matter of common sense, and work-related injuries only lead to days missed and affects productivity. Cutting employees some slack for one week of the year can offset the proven negative side effects of DST.
Whether it’s the fatigue, distracted driving, or a workplace injury that has you seeking the support of a lawyer, contact Femminineo Attorneys PLLC to speak with personal injury attorney David C. Femminineo about your case.