The end of daylight saving time in the fall comes with a spike in road accidents. When there’s less daylight, many people will drive home from work in the dark, which can be much more dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fatality rate per mile is three times higher when it’s dark than when there’s daylight.
The time change can also affect the body’s internal clock and quality of sleep, leaving drivers drowsy behind the wheel. It doesn’t help that people tend to wear darker clothes in the fall than in spring or summer, making them less visible on the road.
This season calls for safer driving. Here are some tips that can help keep you and the people around you safe.
Get Sufficient Rest Before Driving.
Don’t get behind the wheel if you’re sleep-deprived or feel jet-lagged after the change in time. Drowsy drivers can’t make quick decisions or assess dangerous situations properly. Make sure you drive only when you’ve gotten enough rest, so you can stay awake and alert on the road.
There are many ways to help your body adjust to the time change. Get as much light exposure during the day as you can, and put all electronics away an hour before bedtime. In addition, try to maintain the same sleeping and eating schedule before and after the time change.
Be a Defensive Driver.
It’s not enough to be an alert driver. You also have to be defensive because, unfortunately, not everyone will be as attentive to the road as you. The best strategy is to keep enough distance between yourself and the driver in front of you. That way, there’s enough room for you to react if they stop abruptly.
Remember, darkness affects peripheral vision and depth perception. It’s best to be extra cautious after daylight savings time, because driving in low-light conditions is difficult for everyone.
Watch Out for Pedestrians, Cyclists, and Wildlife.
Pedestrians and cyclists can be much harder to spot in low-light conditions. You can prevent fatal accidents by adjusting your speed and being extra mindful. Slow down in front of intersections and crosswalks, and always check your side mirrors before turning.
Wildlife collisions are also more common once daylight savings time ends in the fall, especially at dusk or dawn. Slow down whenever you spot deer crossing signs and check to see if there are any nearby. If an animal gets in front of your vehicle, flash your car lights at them to scare them away.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Low-Light Conditions.
Aside from getting enough rest and staying alert on the road, you must also prepare your vehicle for low-light conditions and weather changes. Here’s a checklist of things you should do:
- Clean your windshield, wipers, windows, and all car lights. Make sure everything is functioning well.
- Consider installing winter tires to improve your steering control and traction.
- Remove all the snow that’s covering your vehicle before driving. Familiarize yourself with your car’s defrost and temperature settings.
- Change your oil, replace your windshield wipers, and replenish your wiper fluid.
- Take your vehicle in for maintenance.
You can be a safe low-light driver.
Whatever the season, drivers must be responsible and practice safe driving. You must be even more careful once daylight savings time ends because the conditions on the road put everyone at higher risk. If you have a personal injury case for review, contact Friedman Law Offices at +1(800)876-1093.