Autumn is filled with crisp air, comfy sweaters and a colorful display of changing leaves. With the comforts of fall also comes the day when we move our clocks from Daylight Savings back to standard time.

First proposed by Ben Franklin as a conservation effort, Daylight Savings time was suggested as a way to conserve wax candles by reducing their demand. While the original concept was to use daylight more efficiently, some argue that benefits for continuing Daylight Savings may not outweigh the costs in increased deaths from auto accidents.

Studies Link Car Crashes and Time Change

In a seven year study of traffic fatalities done by Carnegie Mellon University, scientists found that pedestrians walking after the change to standard time were almost three times more likely to be struck and killed than other times of the year. A study done by the University of Colorado Boulder in 2014 saw a 17% rise in traffic related deaths attributable to the time change.

Increased crash activity can be attributed to many factors. The most obvious reason for an increase in accidents is decreased visibility due to darkness. In addition, both drivers and pedestrians don’t immediately adjust their behavior based on the new lighting conditions. Already sleep deprived American drivers don’t always use the extra hour for sleep. Rather than going to bed an hour earlier, people tend to stay up an hour later, leaving them sleepy the next day. The time change also disrupts our circadian rhythms or sleep-wake cycle that is regulated by sunlight adjustment can take days.

7 Safe Driving Tips

To keep yourself and your loved ones safe this year during the change from Daylight Savings, please keep this tips in mind:

  1. Prepare before you get on the road. Wake up at your normal time on Sunday morning and get some exercise in and eat a good breakfast.
  2. Get to bed early Sunday night.  Make sure your room is quiet, free of distractions, dark and cool.
  3. Wear reflective tape and carry a flashlight if you will be out on foot.
  4. While driving, slow down and proceed with extra caution. Watch for pedestrians including dog walkers and children playing late in the afternoon.
  5. Cooler weather means changing driving conditions including freezing temperatures. Make sure windows and windshields are free of frost. Slow down in any areas that don’t get much sun and could be icy and especially when approaching bridges and overpasses.
  6. Watch for wet leaves as they can be very slippery after a rain. Allow extra distance between your car and the car in front of you.
  7. Be watchful for wildlife. Deer are quite active in the fall and especially at dawn or dusk. Deer typically travel in groups so if one deer darts onto the roadway, chances are others will follow.

From family outings picking pumpkins to attending football games together, fall can be one of the most enjoyable times of year. By keeping these safety tips in mind, you will be able to reduce your exposure to accidents on the road.

If you or a loved one do suffer an injury due to a car accident or other accident, it’s imperative that you seek counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney attorney right away in order to protect your rights.

Contact Hinman and Peck, P.C. for a FREE consultation to see if we can help.

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