Many people dislike the shift from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time when we "fall back" the clocks every year because it signals the start of a long New England winter. However, there is an even more sinister reason to dislike this change - it comes with an increased risk of car accidents.
There are several reasons for this:
- Darkness is dangerous. Year round, accident rates are three times higher at night than during the day. A study by Accident Analysis and Prevention estimated that one extra hour of sunlight in the evening during the winter would save the lives of more than 170 pedestrians and 200 vehicle occupants annually.
- People are still behaving as though it is light. Drivers may do things like forget to turn on their headlights or drive too fast for dark conditions. Pedestrians may not remember that in low light it is harder for drivers to see them. According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, pedestrians are three times more likely to be fatally struck by cars in the weeks following the time change.
- Disruption of circadian rhythms. There is evidence to suggest that disruption of circadian rhythms impacts driving performance, even if an extra hour of sleep is gained. A Texas A & M University study found that car accidents increased 7% overall and fatal car accidents increased 17% during the week after the fall back from Daylight Savings to Standard Time.
- Increased animal activity. During the fall, many animals in New England are active during dusk and evening hours looking for food before wintertime. Car accidents involving deer, coyote, black bear and other animals spike when Daylight Savings Time ends. Animals can usually be spotted by the reflective glow of their eyes caused by a car's headlights. Drivers should be extra careful to scan the sides of the road for glowing eyes, particularly in rural areas, during the dark evening commute when these animals are at their most active.
Unfortunately, these measures are not always enough to protect drivers and pedestrians against accidents caused by others.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Connecticut, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli right away. Schedule a free case evaluation at one of our offices. We're located in Hartford, Manchester, New Britain, New Haven, Norwich, Waterbury and Willimantic. Call (800) WIN-WIN-1 right now.