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That “spring forward” could make driving less safe

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

On March 10, 2024, most of the clocks in the United States will automatically jump ahead one hour in the middle of the night. Come morning, there will be an awful lot of bleary-eyed drivers out there on the roads. You may even be one of them. 

Unfortunately, the bad news keeps on coming, because it could be a while before everybody adjusts to the time change. During that time, the odds you may be in a serious wreck actually increase for about a week.

Why does a single hour of sleep affect people so badly?

It all comes down to human biology. People have internal biological clocks known as a “circadian rhythm,” and that’s what regulates their sleep-wake cycles. These cycles are surprisingly fragile and can be disrupted easily. The time jump leaves people essentially feeling a little “time disoriented” and – because they lost that hour of sleep with no chance to adjust gradually – they’re fatigued.

A fatigued driver is, naturally, going to have a harder time driving. They may find themselves struggling to keep their focus on the road, or they may even nod off at a stoplight on their way to work. Others may react to the physiological stress by becoming more frustrated, and that can lead to aggressive driving and road rage. Whatever the exact mechanics involved, fatal car accidents spike about 6% every year immediately following the time change in the spring.

Being conscious of the danger may help you be a better defensive driver – but there is little else you can do to mitigate your risks. If you do end up in a wreck this spring due to another driver’s mistakes, you do have a right to fair compensation.