When the weather starts to drop and the leaves begin to change, you know Summer is coming to an end and Daylight Saving Time (“DST”) is here as well as the dangers associated with this change. Did you know that since 1966 the Department of Transportation is responsible for managing Daylight Savings Time, when Congress passed the Uniform Time Act? Not only do you need to set your clock back that hour, it’s also a good time to check and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home safe in the coming months. You may need to prepare for some unexpected drowsiness as our circadian rhythms or biological clocks adjust to the change.
Dangerous Dusk and Drowsy Driving
The end of Daylight Savings Time means it gets dark an hour earlier bringing an increase in the number of pedestrians injured or killed. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments “reports indicate pedestrian crashes in the metropolitan Washington region totaled 292 during November 2018, the highest of any month.” Pedestrian fatalities increase in low light conditions due to poor visibility. You have probably heard the saying that “drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving” and it is true. A drowsy driver has slower reflexes and reaction time. In a time where we are continued to expect the unexpected, you shouldn’t have to feel that way regarding your road safety as drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
Some challenges associated with Daylight Saving Time include driving in the dark, glare from oncoming headlights, expected drowsiness, increase in stress due to lack of sleep, etc.
Safety Tips to Avoid Daylight Savings Dangers
- Prep your car – making sure your headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are all functioning properly and can be seen clearly from a distance.
- Be on the alert for animals crossing the roads, especially deer that may be out later now that it will be darker.
- Make sure to go to sleep an hour early and get at least a full 8 hours of sleep to prepare yourself for unwanted drowsiness.
- Leave extra space between you and the cars in front of you to ensure you have ample time to stop if needed.
- Avoid drinking alcohol and other mind-altering substances before driving to minimize the contributing factors of drowsiness.
- Check your medications including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements, which may lead to increased drowsiness.
- Make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast, have that morning cup of Joe, splash your face with cold water, whatever you do to make sure you are wide awake and ready to tackle the day ahead!
- For pedestrians be sure to wear reflective clothing and know that motorists may not see you in the failing light, even if you have the right of way in a crosswalk.
- For cyclists a white headlight that is visible for 500 feet and a red reflector or taillight visible from 300 feet are required by law when riding at night.
- Students and young children returning home from afterschool activities and sports need to be especially careful at dusk, commuters and bus drivers may not see them as the daylight fades.
If a distracted or negligent driver injured you or a loved one, a personal injury attorney from Regan Zambri Long is here to help. We have achieved excellent results for car and pedestrian accident claims in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Our attorneys offer free initial consultations. Call (202) 460-4596 or contact us online to speak with us today.