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How Time Changes Increase The Risk Of Car Accidents and Work-Related Injuries

On Sunday, March 14, 2021, daylight savings time began. Unfortunately, surrendering an hour of sleep as we “spring forward” often proves challenging. If you’ve felt tired and rundown in the time since making the change, you’re not alone. That one hour makes a major difference in your sleep schedule. Hence, the time change can increase your risk of car accidents and work-related personal injuries.

The Impact Daylight Savings Time Has On Your Sleep Schedule

According to the Sleep Foundation, humans are guided by circadian rhythms. These are 24-hour cycles that regulate not only sleep, but other body functions, such as appetite, mood, and heart rate. Circadian rhythms are closely tied to light exposure, which is why working night shifts can be so taxing on employees. It also explains why the yearly switch to daylight savings time can leave so many people feeling groggy in the aftermath.

Time changes in the spring provide more daylight hours. While this and an hour of lost sleep may not seem like a big deal, there are repercussions:

Daylight savings time means it is darker later in the morning, causing many people to sleep in

Extended daylight hours can cause you to keep a busier schedule and stay up later

People tend to sleep 40 minutes less each night for weeks after

You cannot “catch up” on lost sleep and it can take weeks for circadian rhythms to get back on track again

The cumulative effect of less sleep and overall changes in sleep schedules lead to symptoms similar to jet lag and make you more accident-prone.

Preventing Car Accidents and On-The-Job Injuries

The Sleep Foundation reports that car accidents tend to spike in the weeks after making the switch to daylight savings time. Drowsy driving is the leading cause and has symptoms that mimic driving under the influence. Impaired judgment, lack of coordination, slower response times, and vision disturbances can also impact your abilities on the job.

Reliable Plant warns that statistics show a nearly 10 percent increase in on-the-job accidents in the days following daylight savings time. There is also a close to 70 percent increase in workdays lost due to work-related injuries. To protect yourself and prevent accidents while your body adjusts to the time change, follow these tips:

Avoid trying to “catch-up” on sleep and instead aim for a regular sleep schedule

Recognize you’re likely suffering some effects from the time change and go easy on your activities

Avoid other distractions when driving or performing tasks, which only add to the problem

Use particular caution when driving or working during early morning hours and at night, when time change effects are likely to be strongest

Contact an Aiken Personal Injury Attorney

The time change can increase your risk of car accidents and work-related injuries. When car accidents or on-the-job injuries happen, the Surasky Law Firm is here to help you get the compensation you need to recover. To request a consultation, contact our Aiken personal injury attorney today.


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