The Ides of March have been considered unlucky since Roman times, but modern humans have a much more serious day with which to contend: The annual Daylight Savings switch.
This year, the clocks “spring forward” on March 14, and drivers everywhere need to take note. Why? Because the next few weeks could be particularly vulnerable to car wrecks and other accidents.
How badly does a single hour of lost sleep affect drivers?
Even though people only lose about an hour of sleep, at most, with the change, the abrupt shift in their sleep schedules is a lot for the human body to handle.
Studies have consistently shown that fatal car accidents rise by around 6% during the week after the time switch in the spring. Heart attacks, strokes and workplace injuries also rise significantly during that time, as do non-fatal wrecks.
While the exact cause of the problem for drivers isn’t wholly defined, scientists have some pretty good guesses about what leads to the uptick in car accidents:
- Drivers aren’t feeling the best, mentally or physically, because of the interruption to their sleep schedule, and that makes it harder to concentrate on the road.
- Some drivers are flat-out drowsy because they’re not able to adjust to the change in schedule very quickly, and drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
- Drivers are forced to leave their homes for work when it’s dark again — and driving in the dark is always more hazardous than driving in the light of day.
It’s important to remember that even if you’re able to roll with the time change pretty easily, the drivers around you may not be so lucky — so buckle up and use extra caution on the road for the next few weeks.
What should you do if you’re in a serious car wreck?
A car wreck can leave you with a pile of medical bills, lost wages and other problems. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to protect your interests against those of the insurance company.