What Daylight Saving Time Means for Car Accidents

What Daylight Saving Time Means for Car Accidents

by / Monday, 24 October 2022 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents
A car's headlights seen driving on a foggy night.

As of October 2022, daylight saving time is something that millions of people in the United States need to deal with twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. While the United States Senate voted on (and passed) the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021, which would end the twice-a-year time change by making daylight saving time the permanent standard beginning in November 2023, the bill is still pending a vote in the US House of Representatives and has not been enacted into law at this point in time. So, for the time being, these time changes remain a part of our lives. 

The time changes associated with daylight saving time can impact society in a wide range of ways. For many people, they can be frustrating to deal with, especially in the spring when people lose a bit of sleep. Daylight saving time can also impact overall energy consumption. These time changes have also been linked to increases in traffic crashes.

A study published in 2020 found that in the week following the spring time change, the risk of fatal car accidents increases by 6% in the United States. The reason for this is because when people are trying to adjust to losing that hour of sleep, the risk of drowsy driving goes up. Research has shown that you are three times more likely to be in a car accident if you’re fatigued while driving. Fatigued driving can impact drivers in similar ways to driving under the influence of alcohol by slowing reflexes and impairing judgment. However, police officers have the ability to test drivers after a crash to see if they were under the influence of alcohol. There isn’t a comparable test to see if a person was fatigued while driving. According to the AAA Foundation, data from the US government suggest that about 1%-2% of all motor vehicle crashes involve drowsy driving, but their research suggests drowsy driving may be underreported.

While the spring time change can result in an uptick in drowsy driving, the fall time change can cause problems for drivers as well. Many people struggle to adjust to the sun setting much earlier in the day during the fall and winter months. Because of this, people may still be out walking in the late afternoon and early evening even though the sun is going down or when it’s already dark out, increasing the risk of accidents involving pedestrians. That’s on top of the general risks that come along with driving after dark. The changes in sunrise and sunset can also create glare at different times of day than drivers are used to and make it difficult for them to see. 

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

No matter what time of year it is, it’s always important for drivers to be fully focused on the road. If you’ve been injured in a crash, it’s extremely important to contact a car accident lawyer to make sure that all of your care needs, both current and future, will be met. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’re experienced in helping victims of motor vehicle accidents in the state of Michigan, including car accidents, truck crashes, and motorcycle accidents. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your case.