For around 100 years, the United States has followed the lead of several other countries and changed its clocks twice a year. Following the mantra "Spring forward, Fall back," people have made certain to follow the militaristic commands at the penalty of arriving late for work or losing an hour of sleep. The entire idea behind the institution of daylight savings time has to do with the seasonal rotations and energy conservation. A later sunset during the summer months means that people do not use their lights as much indoors. This translates to lower utility bills and conserves energy.
This concept was described as early as the late 1700s as the idea of electricity was initially being explored. The first country to adopt daylights savings time was Germany during World War I. Their research showed that this did indeed save energy. The United States quickly followed and has altered the length and timing of Daylight Savings Time in the decades since. The only states that do not follow the Daylight Savings Time rules are Arizona and Hawaii, who have slightly altered the timing of their switches.
While people obediently follow the commands of the Daylight Savings Time rules, people have begun to question whether or not the idea still deserves use in modern society. There has been a significant amount of research surrounding the benefits and detriments of Daylight Savings Time and some countries, such as Argentina and Russia, have stopped using the Daylight Savings Time switches.
Daylight savings and car accidents
During the Spring, people set their clocks forward. People usually don't plan for the jump forward and therefore wind up losing an hour of sleep when the clocks move ahead in the middle of the night. This leads people to feel fatigued when they drive to work or school the next morning. A significant amount of research into these effects has demonstrated a steep rise in car accidents. Furthermore, this also causes more serious accidents that are reflected with a rise in accidents requiring the attention of medical personnel.
Furthermore, when people wake up in the morning, they are greeted to a suddenly bright and sunny day that used to be a more pleasant dawn feeling. With the sun shining in the air, people have to suddenly adjust to having a bright sun blinding their eyes on their way to work or school. If people do not adequately plan for sunglasses or a visor, this obviously contributes to difficulty seeing and people inadvertently will run into the back of cars in front of them. Setting the clocks forward clearly contributes to an increase in car accidents.
As if this wasn't enough, the resetting of clocks during the autumn also demonstrates a large increase in the rate of car accidents. During the fall, people set their clocks back on hour. What happens is people start to leave work or school with a suddenly much darker sky. The sudden darkness does not give people an opportunity to adjust their eyes to the pitch black that strikes around 4:30 or 5 PM. Without a sufficient amount of light, people wind up in serious car accidents. Many of these result in serious injuries that require hospital visits.
While Daylight Savings Time does have its benefits, it also comes with a substantial amount of risk. Abrupt shifts on time lead to significant variations in the amount of light people need to deal with. As the seasons gradually change the amount of light during the day, people's eyes and minds have time to adjust to the changing scenery. When the clocks suddenly shift by one hour, this strips people of the opportunity for a gradual progression in the amount of sleep and light they are receiving. This leads to a rise in car accidents and an increased chance that people will suffer injuries.
Daylight Savings Time is not an excuse for accidents involving injuries. People who do not have enough sleep or who do not take proper precautions regarding the amount of light outside do not get a pass when it comes to car accidents. Distracted or neglectful driving can lead to high medical costs and these individuals should be held accountable. Anyone who is injured in a car accident should first seek medical care and then contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Medical bills are expensive and there may be room for legal or financial recourse.