As the clock turns back with the end of daylight saving time, drivers in Georgia may face more dangerous roads. While the clock change itself is always scheduled for 2 a.m. on a Sunday to avoid unnecessary disruption, even a one-hour shift in sleep schedules can cause surprising effects. The end of daylight saving time can change the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythms, contributing to greater feelings of sleepiness. Of course, these are the immediate effects of the clock change. Because it is a one-hour change, most people may be able to adjust to the difference over a short period of time.
However, many of the dangers that accompany the shift in time also reflect the changing seasons. Car accidents may be more likely in the winter and fall months because of longer hours of darkness, increased precipitation and greater likelihood of snow and ice. When people need to drive to work and home in the dark, they are more likely to feel drowsy, especially if they are already sleep-deprived. National Sleep Foundation statistics indicate that 6,400 people are killed every year in motor vehicle accidents linked to a lack of sleep. Another 50,000 people are seriously injured in these types of crashes.
Statistics also show that pedestrians are more likely to be injured in car crashes in the fall months. The daylight saving time shift is particularly dangerous; one insurance study showed that the two weeks after the time change had a marked increase in accidents from the two weeks before, especially as more drivers commuted in the dark.
Winter weather can contribute to car accidents, but drowsy and otherwise negligent driving is responsible for a large number of crashes. People injured in a motor vehicle collision due to someone else’s negligence may consult a personal injury lawyer about options to pursue compensation.