With the recent time change, many of us are still trying to catch up from that lost hour of sleep. If you are among those feeling bleary eyed and lethargic, you are not alone. Studies show that once daylight savings time goes into effect, it can take weeks to get over the disruption in your schedule. Unfortunately, in addition to being generally bad for your health, sleep disturbances can also increase your car accident risks. We have some tips to help you stay safe.
The Dangerous Impact of Daylight Savings Time
According to a March 6, 2019 Business Insider report, that hour of sleep you lost when we set our clocks ahead for daylight savings time can impact on your health and safety. In the weeks after we ‘spring forward,’ studies show that there is a risk in sudden events such as heart attacks and strokes, along with an increase in car crashes and collisions. These are attributed to drowsy driving, a leading cause of car accidents in South Carolina and throughout the country.
Driving on less than your usual eight hours of sleep can impact your abilities behind the wheel in much the same way as alcohol does. These include:
Blurred vision and increased sensitivity to glare
Dulled reflexes and reaction times
Impaired judgement, making you more likely to make dangerous errors
Increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel
Staying Alert Behind the Wheel
While missing a single hour of sleep may not seem that dramatic, the impact on your physical and emotional health, as well as your cognitive processes, can be dramatic. To increase the public’s general awareness of the problem, the National Sleep Foundation has designated the week after daylight savings time as National Sleep Awareness Week. They advise that while you cannot play ‘catch up’ when it comes to lost sleep, you can take actions such as:
Going to bed earlier
Eliminating caffeine in the evenings
Developing a bedtime routine
Putting down cell phones and other electronics at least an hour before bed
The above tips can help you get back on a regular sleep schedule. While you are adjusting, be aware that common tricks such as drinking coffee or soda, rolling down the window, and listening to music do not really work to combat the effects of drowsy driving. If you must be on the road and you feel yourself getting excessively tired, try pulling over and closing your eyes for a few minutes. Be alert for other motorists who may be feeling sleep deprived as well. Swerving in and out of the lane, disregarding traffic signs and signals, and driving erratically, with sudden stops and starts are all signs of drowsy driving.
Get Legal Help
When crashes and collisions happen to you or those you love, the Surasky Law Firm, LLC provides professional legal representation so you can get the compensation you need to recover. To find out how we can help you, contact our Aiken car accident attorney and request a consultation today.