End of Daylight-Saving Time Raises Wilmington Crash Risk
Daylight-saving time gives Americans an extra 60 minutes of sleep in the mornings and results in more morning light and darker afternoons.
While daylight saving has become an accepted part of life, it may come as surprise that there is some behind-the-scenes controversy among safety experts about whether the practice should end. The problem is there are always more deaths in the days surrounding the end of daylight-saving time because of the different driving conditions.
A personal injury lawyer knows pedestrians and bicycle riders are at the greatest risk of collisions resulting from the autumn time change. But of course, all motorists are potentially at risk of a collision. Drivers need to be aware of the impact of changing the clocks on road safety, and should make smart choices about how they operate their vehicles.
Ending Daylight-Saving Time Creates Accident Risks
According to a University of Washington professor who has studied the effectiveness of different DST policies, "Darkness kills and sunlight saves lives." Time reports the professor says the important question is when sunlight is available.
Advocates of ending daylight-saving practices in November believe the additional sunlight in the evening is better than shifting the sunshine to the morning. More people, including children, are awake and active during the evening. As a result, when daylight saving allows for more sunlight at night, this allows for greater visibility and makes it easier for drivers to see pedestrians. Many people are still asleep at 7 in the morning, so the change doesn't affect them. However, most everyone is awake and active at 5 p.m.
A 2004 study lends support to perpetual daylight savings time. The study showed adding an hour of sunlight each evening over year-round could prevent 170 pedestrian fatalities and 200 deaths among vehicle occupants.
Other experts suggest expecting people to abruptly adjust to a time change could increase the risk of dangerous driving. People may continue to behave as though it is light, driving faster and being less attentive, even when it is dark out.
Meanwhile, child safety advocates are among those fighting to preserve current daylight-saving time practices. These researchers argue children would be safer if there was more sunlight during the earlier hours when children go to school. When a proposal was made to alter the spring clock changes forward from April to March, the National PTA opposed the suggestion because many parents want the light in the morning when their children are walking or being driven to class.
As the debate rages on, the fact is drivers need to slow down in the days after the time change to accommodate the change. It is darker and drivers should make sure they are carefully looking for pedestrians and bicyclists. Communities should also focus on providing better artificial street light during the times when it is dark so these vulnerable street users can be more visible and the risk of collisions will be reduced.
Help is available for accidents victims in Willmington, NC. Contact the Law Offices of Richard Flexner at 800-FLEXNER or visit http://www.getflexner.com to schedule a free consultation.