This Sunday at 2 a.m. marks the end of Daylight Savings. While setting back the clocks may seem like a burden, adjusting the time this weekend will be the least of your worries.
The end of Daylight Savings comes with an uptick in motor vehicle accidents and driving hazards. As road conditions get darker earlier, drivers are often unprepared for the decrease in visibility. The adjustment in millions of sleep schedules across the country also puts more fatigued drivers behind the wheel.
If you haven’t begun to prepare your family for the time change, it’s time to start. Staying alert on the roads and making small changes to your schedule can make a world of difference when it comes to your safety on the roads. Know the risk factors that lead to road accidents and help prepare your family for the dangers they will face with darker days ahead.
Dark and Deadly Roads
When Daylight Savings ends in Maryland, the sun will be setting at 5:00 p.m. to start and closer to 4:45 p.m. by the second week of November. This puts most Marylanders commuting home from work and after school activities in the dark, with far more cars sharing the road than typical nighttime driving conditions.
Driving in the dark poses a greater risk for accidents on the road. The National Safety Council reports road fatalities are three times higher during nighttime hours than during the day. Without proper lighting, a driver’s ability to safely navigate their vehicle can be significantly compromised.
Drivers may experience difficulty with any of the following:
- depth perception
- color recognition
- peripheral vision
Despite the dangers, darker road conditions will not make reckless drivers drive safer. Motorists known for speeding, making aggressive maneuvers, or neglecting basic traffic laws will most likely continue to do so; now, they will just have less time to stop to prevent an accident.
Maryland drivers can decrease their chances of road accidents by using caution at all times on the road:
- Keep all windows, mirrors, and windshields clean and free of debris that could block your vision.
- Do not drive under the influence.
- Decrease distractions within the vehicle (cellphones, GPS, passengers).
- Keep your speed low.
- Do not be impatient during rush hour traffic.
- Use your turn signals early.
- Don’t pull aggressive lane maneuvers and changes.
That extra hour of sleep you are excited for this weekend might make driving harder during the day. According to the National Sleep Foundation, our bodies naturally become more tired when the sun goes down. At least 60 percent of adults report they often drive tired behind the wheel, and another 37 percent admit to falling asleep.
Fatigued drivers are a major threat to everyone on the road. These drivers can cause accidents by swerving, drifting, easily becoming distracted, or making decisions similar to drunk drivers when it comes to delayed reactions.
To help combat the dangers of fatigued driving, the National Sleep Foundation makes the following suggestions to reduce the onset of drowsiness behind the wheel:
- Slowly adjust your sleep scheduled in the days before the time change.
- Get seven or more hours of sleep a night.
- Do not drive if you have been awake for more than 16 hours.
- Pull over in a safe location and take a rest if you feel tired.
- Avoid late night or early morning driving when possible.
- Don’t take the chance to stay up late on Saturday with the additional hour of sleep on Sunday.
If you continue to find yourself too tired to drive, consider another mode of transportation for your daily commute to avoid putting yourself and others at risk.
Drivers who are adjusting to the time change may forget to look for kids playing or pedestrians walking on roads. It may be dark before 5:00 p.m., but pedestrians of all ages will still be out and about.
Staying visible and alert to cars is the only way to protect yourself from road accidents. Pedestrians can take several safety measures to stay on dark roads, including:
- Using a flashlight when walking.
- Placing reflective materials on your bags and outerwear.
- Always looking before crossing, even if the traffic signals say to go.
- Avoiding jaywalking or crossing between crosswalks.
- Using sidewalks or walk in the grass when available.
- Never assuming an oncoming car will stop.
- Watching out for driveways and intersections.
- Staying focused on the road and avoid distractive devices.
- Supervising children playing outside.
- Staying off the streets when possible.
Speeding, failure to yield, and left-handed turns are the biggest culprits when it comes to causing pedestrian traffic accidents in the dark. Pedestrians should be particularly careful on roads where cars are known for speeding and at intersections.
Fall Back Safely Maryland
You still have a few days to prepare for the time change. Don’t take a chance with your family’s safety this year. Here are few tips from Esurance on how to safely navigate the long nights ahead:
- Prep your car with equipment you will need in the case of an emergency (flashlights, signal lights, headlights, first aid kits).
- Know when to use your low and high beams to avoid blinding other drivers.
- Deer and other animals remain active at night. Stay alert in areas with high volumes of animal crossings.
- Roads get darker as the weather gets colder. Prepare for snow and ice that could make your commute even more treacherous.
Baltimore Winning Car Accident Attorneys - D'Amore Personal Injury Law
Dark roads are no excuse for road accidents. All Maryland drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles with care to reduce harm to others on the road. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by a reckless driver, our team of winning car accident attorneys is here for support.
Our Maryland accident lawyers have the trial experience to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you need and deserve. Don't Get Mad... Get Justice! Call 1-800-JUSTICE or fill out an online contact form to get the justice you deserve. You will reach one of our successful accident attorneys to review your case. Our consultation is free, and there is no fee unless we win!