Does daylight saving time cause more accidents on our roads?

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Have you adjusted to the time change? Did you know that falling back is often blamed for causing more cluster headaches? It is also linked to an increase in the number of auto accidents.

When it comes to car crashes is this correlation and causation? Some studies point to changes in sleep patterns that may reduce our alertness and cause more fatal car crashes in the weeks following daylight saving time.

But the jury is still out. A 2010 Journal of Environmental Public Health study analyzed the number of traffic accidents that occurred in Finland the week before and after daylight savings time over 25 years. It found no significant change. Another study by a different research team in another journal found a decrease in accidents due to better morning visibility.

Could extending daylight saving time year round save lives?

A recent article in Popular Mechanics suggests that extending daylight saving time might reduce the number of collisions. The article cites to studies that estimate 366 lives could be spared each year, because it is easier to drive in the daylight.

Added morning daylight only really helps commuters. In the evening rush hour, traffic can be worse as those running an errand or going for dinner are also on the roads. Added activity on the roads when visibility is at its worse may be more the issue rather than disruptions in sleep cycles.

As another winter driving season starts, here are a few tips to deal with reduced visibility:

  • Turn on the headlights. It sounds simple, but can be something easily forgotten after not needing to use them for many months
  • Allow enough time to get where you are going and adjust your speed to the conditions.
  • Double check for pedestrians and cyclists. If walking or biking, wear reflective clothing or install a headlamp and flashing rear light on your bicycle.

When a crash happens, it can be hard to uncover the cause. Speaking with a personal injury attorney is often the only way to discover negligent conduct. And when the negligence of another driver was in fact the cause, remedies are available.

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