There are many benefits to Daylight Saving Time (DST), including brighter mornings and more sunshine during the day. On the other hand, most of us look forward to the extra hour of sleep we gain in early November when DST ends. However, there are several dangers associated with “falling back” for drivers, as we make the transition to darker days.

Disrupted Sleep Patterns

inside a car driving through a tunnel at night Circadian rhythm, commonly known as our internal clock, refers to environmental factors that help control our sleep patterns. Losing an hour of sleep seems like a bigger impact on our bodies, but gaining an hour of sleep will begin to take its toll in the weeks after DST ends. Any disruption of the sleep cycle can make us irritable and cause stress in other areas of our body. For many, it can awhile to make the proper adjustments.

Slow to Adapt to Change

The end of DST can be abrupt; you may notice the late afternoons getting slightly darker at the beginning of November, but one morning you wake up to bright sunshine at 7 am! It can take our minds a few days or even weeks to acclimate, which is a dangerously long transition. Drivers may exceed the speed limit when the sun goes down because they’re used to seeing obstacles in the road at 5 pm. Or, pedestrians may decide to run into the crosswalk with five seconds left on the clock, neglecting to realize their shape is harder to detect in the dark!

Trouble Staying Alert

Leaving the office at 5 pm in pitch darkness can trick our bodies into thinking it’s time for sleep. If you’re fatigued when you get behind the wheel, it becomes dangerous for your own safety and for other drivers. It’s important to reestablish your sleep pattern, whether that means going to sleep an hour earlier or sleeping in a bit longer until your body readjusts.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This disorder is a form of depression. Many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) when DST ends because of the darker, shorter and colder days. Common symptoms include unhappiness, fatigue, sleep problems and thoughts of suicide. We’re often told not to drive when we’re upset because our minds are not on the road ahead. If a driver is suffering from SAD, he may be less attentive and end up causing a serious accident.

The experienced lawyers at Trantolo & Trantolo are here to help. If you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact us today to make your claim.