Daylight Saving Time Safety Tips

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 14-Mar-2017

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 this risk?

  • 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, if possible.

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.

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