Drowsy Driving During Daylight Savings Time
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is back again and this may indicate a potential risk of crashes due to drowsy driving. DST kicked in last Sunday, March 12, and motorists are reminded to change their clocks and adjust their driving habits to prevent drowsy driving-related accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 100,000 crashes in the U.S. each year are caused by drowsy driving, which resulted in over 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries.
Sleep loss is a concern during DST, considering the fact that spike in collisions happens during this period. When one is deprived of sleep, their accuracy of responses decreases and their hand-eye coordination reduces. AAA Spokeswoman Cheryl Parker said that a change in time can affect drivers physically due to a lost hour of sleep, she urged motorists to increase sleep time in the days ahead and get a good night’s sleep.
The NHTSA categorized drowsy driving as impaired driving and it can be fatal. Signs and symptoms of drowsy driving include drifting from lanes, disconnected thoughts, missing traffic signals, trouble focusing, unable to remember the last few miles driven, and unaware of passing vehicles.
- Thirty-five percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily.
- People who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a crash as those sleeping eight hours or more.
- In 2014, there were 2,232 drowsy driving-related crashes in Kentucky.
- People who are awake 17 straight hours are comparable to people with a .05 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). And those who are awake 24 straight hours are as impaired as one with a .10 BAC, which is Kentucky’s legal limit of .08 BAC.
- Groups at an increased risk for drowsy driving include business travelers, college students, commercial drivers, high school students, individuals with untreated sleep disorders, new parents, shift workers, and young male drivers.
Avoid Drowsy Driving With These Tips
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I would like to encourage everyone, especially drivers, to regularly get sufficient sleep. Sleeping for less than seven hours may have deadly consequences and these include road accidents, deaths, and injuries. It is best to have a good night’s sleep before traveling or driving to work. And in case you feel sleepy while driving, I suggest that you pull over at a rest stop to take a nap.
Moreover, it is worthy to note that with the arrival of DST, more people especially children, cyclists, and runners are expected be out on the streets. Make sure that you cross only at intersections or crosswalks. Also, wear bright colors or reflective clothing to make you visible.