This Sunday, we set our clocks forward one hour to observe Daylight Saving
Time. While this annual “spring forward” ritual seems harmless
enough, studies show several possible safety risks associated with the
time change. Consider the following:
According to a study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, there is a 10 percent increased
risk of having a heart attack during the days following the Daylight Saving
Time change. This trend may have to do with sleep deprivation or the interruption
of the body’s circadian rhythm.
The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the number of traffic accidents typically spikes upward during the
transition to Daylight Saving Time, likely owing to sleep deprivation
and circadian rhythm patterns, as well as to increased darkness.
Staying Safe During the Time Change
Our sleep patterns are important, and when they are interrupted, we can
be at increased risk for accidents and health issues. How can you reduce
Go to bed earlier. Hitting the sack an hour earlier on Saturday won’t necessarily reset
your “body clock,” but any extra rest you can get before the
time change will help.
Try resetting your body clock gradually. If you have the discipline, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each
night for several days leading up to the time change, to ease your circadian
rhythm into it.
Slow down and drive carefully in the mornings. You’re driving in the dark when you’re used to driving in
the light—and so is everyone else. Treat it like an adverse driving
condition, and exercise more caution until you acclimate to it.
Practice relaxation. To ease the stress on your heart, try to do something relaxing the night
before the time change. Also, take your time getting up in the morning,
For more information on sleep and road safety, see our article
How Safe Are Drivers the Morning After Taking Sleep Aids?
If you are injured in an accident where negligence may be involved, contact our
D.C. accident attorneys for a free consultation.