Daylight Savings and motor accidents
As of Sunday 2 April 2017, Australia rolled back its clocks as daylight savings time came to an end. More often than not the general public is excited to be receiving an extra hour of sleep. However the change in time can have a very serious impact on your driving ability.
With the end of daylight savings comes increased darkness earlier in the evening. Rush hour traffic that was once previously operating in established sunlight is now occurring as dawn and dusk.
The change of time often leaves individuals feeling fatigued which impacts both drivers and pedestrians.
Pedestrians walking around in the dark are 186% times more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents post daylight savings according to an intensive study from Carnegie Mellon University. Pedestrians will adopt risky road crossing practices in the dark.
The decreased visibility during heavy traffic periods has been shown to make drivers feel drowsy, decreasing their ability to look in front on them and assess potential hazards and threats and generally more irritable. This ‘daylight savings jet lag’ can be felt by the individual up to 5 days after the fact.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep you and everyone else safe on the road during daylight savings:
- Headlights: Turn your headlights on as soon as it starts to get dark to alert other drivers and pedestrians of your presence.
- Take extra precautions driving in the dark: Ensure your own safety by taking the extra steps to be a safe driver such as leaving a bigger gap between yourself and the car in front of you, looking in your blind spot, merging safely and keeping to the speed limit.
- Adjust your body clock early: Get prepared for daylight savings by adjusting your sleeping pattern to daylight savings hours.
- Eat before you leave: Having a good breakfast and snack before leaving work can give you the energy you need to stop fatigue and increase you awareness.
- Cross the road safety: Pedestrians should always cross the road at the delegated facilities. Take extra precautions by looking in both directions before you cross and sticking to foot paths.
This is not an extensive list. You know yourself best and what works for you. Always do what is best in the interest of your safety as well as not doing anything that would endanger the safety of others.
If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a motor accident, either as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, you may be entitled to compensation. To arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 25 1800, or alternatively make an online enquiry.
Written by Zoe Brindle.
Zoe Brindle is a law clerk in Victoria Roy‘s Practice Group. Zoe provides Victoria and the rest of the travel accident law group with administrative assistance.