In March, the Senate passed a bill that would make Daylight Savings Time (DST) permanent starting in 2023. If this bill makes it through the House of Representatives and the President signs it, American citizens would no longer change their clocks twice a year. No more springing forward or falling back. This is a welcome change to many of us who find the time changes do nothing but cause jet-lag and confusion, but the benefits may go beyond simply enjoying daylight longer year round.
Not only can this measure help reduce seasonal depression (caused by a lack of full sunlight) and allow children to play later, it may also make our roads safer. Believe it or not, the changing of our clocks has an effect on the number of car accidents each year. According to a study published in Current Biology:
- Spring DST transition acutely increases fatal traffic accident risk by 6% in the US
- ∼28 fatal accidents could be prevented yearly if the DST transition was abolished
- Spring-DST-transition-associated fatal accident risk is highest in the morning
- Locations further west in a time zone are affected more by the spring transition
How changing the clocks affects the number of traffic collisions
According to sleep experts at Northwestern Medicine, we all have three clocks we must try to keep aligned with each other: our internal clocks, the clock on the wall, and the visual “clock” of the rising and setting sun. When these clocks are thrown off in any way, our bodies experience what we know as jet-lag, and this is more serious than one may think. The heavy exhaustion caused by these out-of-sync clocks can severely impair cognitive function and even negatively affect our health, increasing our risk of cardiovascular events.
Therefore, when one of our clocks changes twice a year, our bodies suffer as they try to acclimate along with them. Going back and forth means we never fully adapt to either time, and our circadian rhythm is never properly in sync, though the effects are at their worst in the week or so following a time change. This is why studies have started showing an increase in car accidents around Daylight Savings Time — both falling and springing.
Since the change to DST is the more deadly transition, it is possible that keeping us permanently in DST may lead to a reduced number of car accidents later, as our bodies will eventually reset.
Is fatigued driving dangerous?
Driving exhausted behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. According to Healthline, this is because you are unable to make decisions as quickly or as logically as you need to, and you may even have difficulty focusing on the road at all. When everyone else on the road is having the same trouble you are, it increases the chances of a car accident.
What car accidents are caused by drowsy drivers in Chattanooga?
The severity and combination of injuries caused by car accidents depends largely on how the car accident takes place and how those involved reacted. For example, someone who was not wearing a seatbelt and did not slow down before colliding will likely sustain more serious injuries. The size of the vehicles involved may also play an important role; generally, truck accidents are more catastrophic in nature than car accidents, though this is not always the case. Drowsy drivers may cause:
- Head-on crashes, which are the deadliest collisions for obvious reasons. Those who survive usually do so with severe traumatic brain injuries and/or spinal cord damage that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
- Rear-end collisions, which range from fender-benders to severe crushes. These accidents commonly cause whiplash and head injuries, as well as concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, from hitting the steering wheel, airbags, or head rest on impact. Drivers and passengers who are not wearing a seat belt may also be thrown around or out of the car.
- Side-impact collisions, also known as T-bone collisions, happen when cars strike perpendicular to each other. This means the front of one car hits the side of another car, usually in an intersection. Since these accidents usually involve one speeding car and one unmoving car, injuries can be incredibly severe for both parties. Head, neck, and spinal cord injuries are common along with broken bones and lacerations from broken glass.
- Sideswipe collisions, such as two cars merging into each other, can cause both vehicles to spin out of control. These collisions often lead to more severe accidents as they spin into other cars or obstacles, leading to life-threatening injuries similar to side-impact collisions.
Since Tennessee car accident liability is determined by who is at fault, understanding the different types of collisions can be an essential part of your case. Your Chattanooga car accident injury attorney can help determine who is truly responsible for your injuries and give you realistic expectations of your case, while also tirelessly pursuing the compensation you deserve. Remember that the other party may be trying to do the same, even if they are at fault.
The Chattanooga car accident attorneys at Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law have years of experience dealing with greedy insurance companies and negligent parties, and we will not let them win. You and your family are suffering enough without ever having to worry about affording the treatments, medications, and accommodations you need to recover as much as possible, and every single one of those expenses could be compensated. For a free consultation to learn more, call us today at 423-756-7923 or use our contact form. We proudly serve clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN, North Georgia, and the surrounding areas, and we will be proud to help you.