Daylight Savings: Dangers of Driving Following DST - Catalano Law

Daylight Savings: Dangers of Driving Following DST

As autumn settles in and leaves take on vibrant hues in Upstate New York, a subtle shift occurs in our daily routines — the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST). While most people associate this change with the joy of gaining an extra hour of sleep in the fall, a downside often goes unnoticed: the potential dangers of driving in the following weeks.

Understanding why the period after the fall DST change can be treacherous for drivers and implementing essential tips can help you stay safe during this transition.

What is Fall DST?

Fall DST refers to when the nation moves the clock back one hour in the fall. This transition typically occurs in late October or early November. It returns the country to standard time, which was changed to DST in the spring and summer to allow for more daylight.

Due to the shift in timing, fall DST typically shortens daylight hours, especially in the early morning and evening. These changes can affect visibility, sleep behavior, and overall safety for motorists and pedestrians.

What Makes DST Changes So Dangerous for Drivers?

The week after DST changes in the fall often show an increase in accidents on the road. According to the National Safety Council, between November and March of 2021, fatal crashes peaked during hours affected by the shift in DST—about 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

Several factors contribute to this heightened risk, including:

Fall DST results in shorter daylight hours during the winter. With the sun rising later and setting earlier, many commuters find themselves driving to work or back home in dim or low-light conditions. This reduced visibility can increase the risk of accidents, making navigating roads and highways in Upstate New York more dangerous.

Deer accidents injure nearly 60,000 individuals annually in the U.S. Fall marks the deer mating season, making these animals more active in the two hours after sunset. A 2022 study found that this heightened deer activity and reduced visibility because of DST changes resulted in a 16% increase in deer-related accidents.

A 2023 study by the Sleep Foundation found that the fall DST reversal can be particularly disruptive to sleep patterns. The study found that in the week after fall DST, there was an almost 116% increase in difficulty falling asleep and a 34% increase in overall sleep dissatisfaction among those studied.

These sleep disturbances can lead to drowsy driving crashes, causing injuries or fatalities.

Adjusting to the new schedule can leave drivers feeling tired and less alert. Fatigue is a well-known contributor to accidents on the road. This fatigue becomes even more perilous when combined with reduced visibility due to the earlier sunsets.

The 2023 study found a 102.8% increase in excessive fatigue during the day in the week after fall DST.

Tips for Driving Safely After the DST Change

Adjusting to the end of DST can be challenging, as the sudden shift in daily routines and driving conditions can catch people off guard and unprepared to navigate safely. To help prevent DST-related accidents during this transition period, here are some practical tips:

Navigate the Challenges of Fall DST With Catalano Law

As DST comes to an end and we adjust to shorter days and longer nights, taking safety precautions on the road is essential. Reduced visibility and changing driving conditions demand extra vigilance from all drivers.

Despite taking precautions, accidents can occur. If you’re hurt in a collision after setting your clock back this fall, speak with an auto accident attorney at Catalano Law. We can review the details of your case to determine if another driver is responsible and help you seek compensation for your injuries.

Contact us for a free case evaluation. We can help you navigate the aftermath of your crash for the best legal outcome.

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