Is daylight saving time connected to traffic accidents in Columbus?

Spring and fall daylight savings time shifts are associated with increased car crashes. Pedestrians face particular risk of injury during these periods.

Daylight saving time is a shift intended to provide people with a greater number of daylight hours that coordinate with typical work and school schedules. Even though there are some practical arguments behind the implementation of these shifts in the spring and fall, many people find these changes stressful and difficult to manage. Sleep schedules often have to be rearranged in order to accommodate the new position of the clock but car crashes are not only caused by fatigued drivers. Other factors can lead to these accidents.

More Ohio fatal accidents in the fall

Each year law enforcement officials see an increase in the number of accidents involving pedestrians and drivers on the dates following the time change. WBNS-10TV stated that authorities cited darkness falling early as a main factor in the 41 fatal crashes involving pedestrians that took place in October, November and December of 2014. Those 41 crashes accounted for nearly half of the 89 fatal accidents that occurred the same year.

A national trend

The connection between time changes in the spring and autumn, and the increased instance of car accidents involving pedestrians has been noted across the country. The New York Daily News stated that on the Monday following a daylight saving time shift, the accident rate in the U.S. increased to 17 percent. This shift has been attributed to a combination of factors, including:

• Missing an hour from the normal amount of time spent asleep

• More darkness in the early morning hours

• Reaction times slowed due to sleep deprivation

These factors can have numerous effects. For instance, a driver may be in a hurry on a daylight savings time Monday morning because their sleep pattern is off. They may drive too quickly on dark roads to make up for lost time. Pedestrians walking to bus stops in dim morning hours may not see approaching traffic or may not realize how quickly vehicles are traveling. A driver approaching a crosswalk could be fighting off fatigue and fail to see a pedestrian stepping into the street.

Choices that affect the safety of others

An extra hour of daylight on a Sunday in the fall seems to offer the promise of a little more weekend. This has the potential to lead people to drink a little more or stay out a little later. These choices can lead directly to the kind of crashes that leave others with serious injuries. Anyone who has been hurt in an accident can speak with an attorney to find out what options they have.