Could Changing from Daylight Saving Time Cause You to Get into a Car Accident? | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

As the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST) rapidly approaches, most Northern Virginia and D.C residents are probably more excited about getting an extra hour of sleep than they are worried about potential dangers caused by the time shift.

But surprising and compelling research suggests that the transition to DST can lead to all sorts of havoc, including accident hazards at work, on the road, and elsewhere. An article on summarizes how Daylight Savings can impact our mental acuity and concentration. Certain countries, like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, don’t even acknowledge DST, but the United States and 60-plus other countries do. The tradition of DST harkens back over 230 years ago to 1784, when Benjamin Franklin recommended the process to conserve energy during the winter.

Academic studies of DST’s effects on driving have been ambiguous. Some studies suggest that the time shift causes car accidents, perhaps by changing average sleep habits and altering the circadian rhythms of drivers. Other studies suggest that the effect, if there is one, is negligible. One study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2000 surveyed car accidents in Finland from the late 1980s through 2006; it found that DST did not cause any extra problems. Another study published the same year in the Journal of Safety Research suggests that DST actually might help prevent car accidents, possibly because the increased morning visibility helps drivers see better.

Other studies in different domains suggest that DST is not all good news.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology in 2009 found that DST sparked an increase in workplace injuries of almost 6%. And a study from Sweden published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that heart attacks increased by 5% on average during DST.

If you or someone you love got hurt in automobile accident recently, contact the Washington D.C. car accident attorneys here at Regan, Zambri & Long to schedule a free case consultation.

Changes to our circadian rhythms can lead to crashes. To learn more, read: How Safe Are Drivers the Morning After Taking Sleep Aids?