This month, nearly everyone in America set his or her clocks ahead one hour in observance of Daylight Savings Time (DST). This annual tradition was enacted during World War I to decrease energy use, although Benjamin Franklin first encouraged it in 1784. While the additional energy savings may be nice, it does wreak havoc on our bodies and our internal clocks.
Yet this little hour may be more dangerous than many people believe. Research shows that the Monday and Tuesday after Daylight Savings Time changes, our risk of being involved in a car accident increases by 6%. This is due in large part to sleepy drivers hitting the road an hour earlier than usual. Driving fatigued often leads to devastating car and trucking accidents.
In addition to an increased risk of car accidents, setting our clocks ahead an hour also increases the risk of workplace accidents. These accidents can be minor sprain and back injuries or they can be more severe amputation or burn injuries. In the days followingDaylight Savings Time, workplace productivity also drops drastically, due to sleepy workers who just can’t seem to function properly.
The impact of Daylight Savings Time is related to something known as our internal circadian rhythm. We are naturally programed to be sleepy at a certain time of night and feel restful at a certain time of day. When we lose an hour of sleep, it is more difficult to wake up properly in the morning. Our bodies also require light to get us going. In the spring, it is a little darker when we wake up, thus making it even more difficult to get out of bed and wake up completely. The results are tired and sleepy drivers, zoning out on the freeway and at traffic lights.
In order to combat the effects of Daylight Savings Time, don’t try to fight it. Instead, make a plan to go to bed an hour earlier for the first week or two. This will ensure that you are rested, so you can avoid dangerous accidents. If you are involved in a car accident, it is important to speak to a Denver car accident attorney immediately to review the details of your case.