Feeling tired lately? If so, you're probably not alone. The annual spring tradition of setting our clocks one hour forward to mark Daylight Saving Time has many Americans reaching for an extra cup of coffee or hitting the snooze button in recent weeks. While some will remember Daylight Saving Time as a way to combat the energy crisis of the 1970s, it could be illuminating another hazard in our lives today.
New research shows that car accidents spike in the weeks following Daylight Saving Time. While the hour in time is made up when we set our clocks back in the fall, the economic costs of a car accident continue to tick upward. From 2002 to 2011, Daylight Saving Time's lost hour was to blame for 30 driving deaths and $275 million in damages annually, according to a study published by the American Economic Association.
Dangerous drivers in broad daylight
This data backs up past research by the American Automobile Association (AAA) that suggests drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. One in three Americans admits to getting behind the wheel without a good night's sleep, resulting in one in five crashes caused by a drowsy driver.
Most Americans miss an hour or two of sleep per night on a regular basis, and Daylight Saving Time might be adding to the problem. Drivers who miss two to three hours of sleep per night are four times more likely to crash, according to the study. While AAA hopes more people catch up on ZZZ after Daylight Saving Time, injured drivers may still be in the dark on how to fully recover after a crash.
Don't sleep on the recovery process
Car accidents can cost drivers dearly in medical bills, property damage and missed time at work. The days following a wreck may be some of the most difficult in a person's life as they deal with the losses. It is no accident then that drivers have a way to seek compensation for the high costs of a crash.
Through personal injury litigation, victims of car accidents can hold others accountable for their actions. When a lack of sleep adds up to an accident, drivers can rest easy knowing that help is available with a caring attorney.