Despite talk and even proposed legislation by members of Congress to make Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanent and end the semi-annual time changes most Americans deal with, that doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon. Almost certainly, it won’t happen before most of the U.S. is scheduled to “fall back” this year.
That hour change in March and then in November has been shown to affect the human body – for example, by throwing off our sleep/wake cycles. Those effects, coupled with the change in hours of daylight, causes the number of vehicle crashes to rise after the time changes.
The potential dangers on the road
Even if you’re one of those people who never suffers jet lag and who adjusts seamlessly to adding or losing an hour a couple of times a year, the end of DST in early November will affect any driving you do in the morning and early evening. An hour’s change makes a difference in the position of the sun. You may suddenly find yourself blinded by the sun coming up just as you’re driving to work or driving into the sunset or in near-darkness when you pick up your kids late in the day.
As DST ends, you’re also going to be dealing with other drivers who may have a more difficult time than you adjusting to these changes. If they don’t have automatic headlights, they may be driving without them without realizing it. People who have difficulty driving in the dark and generally avoid it may find themselves on the road after the sun has set.
Is there anything you can do?
As a driver, all you can do is be especially attentive to others around you (vehicles as well as pedestrians and cyclists). Allow yourself extra space behind other vehicles and a little extra time to get where you’re going.
As a pedestrian or cyclist, it’s crucial to be sure you’re seen. Wear bright and/or reflective clothing. Having reflectors on your shoes is also helpful. Don’t assume that drivers see you even if it seems like they should.
Certainly, a driver’s difficulty adjusting to the time change is no excuse for causing a collision. If you’ve been injured by an at-fault driver, regardless of the reason, it’s crucial that you seek the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled to deal with your expenses and other damages. Getting experienced legal guidance is a good first step.