ONE STEP FORWARD ONE STEP BACK
When we Spring Forward this weekend, we all lose one precious hour of sleep.
But what trouble can one lost little hour make?
Drowsy Driving is the big one. Losing quality sleep means losing concentration and attention behind the wheel. Driving safe requires all our skill and all our brain power. Tired driving is a growing epidemic that threatens both the driver and everyone she meets on the road.
Health Emergencies may be another. Studies show that some people are at a greater risk of heart attack and stroke immediately after the time change. The stress of sleep loss may trigger underlying or pre-existing health conditions. No one wants to be that driver dealing with a life-threatening health crisis behind the wheel. And no one else wants to meet that driver on our busy highways when he loses control of his car and rams into oncoming drivers or pedestrians.
Awareness is one thing. Preparation is another.
How Can We Make Our Roads Spring Safe?
Be ready to lose that hour by taking real steps to adjust to the Spring time shift.
Researchers at the CDC suggest that at least 3 days before the time change gradually move up your bed time and waking, exercise and meals until your body is synched with the change.
They also recommend that we prioritize sleep and reduce the glare, distraction and noise of phones, ipads and tvs at sleep time.
While these strategies may help some drivers, they won't work magic. The reality is that it takes many drivers days and days to adjust to the time shift.
The CDCs own studies show that the danger lasts almost a full week or 7 long days after the clocks change. And the Monday after the shift is particularly dangerous. Studies indicate a full 15 to 20% increase in traffic deaths on that Monday after we spring forward.
Aware drivers may also take practical steps to stay off the roads and out of the line of fire. If possible, put off optional road trips and errands until the red zone has passed.
But most drivers are not that lucky. Most of us commute to work by car or public transit. Our jobs demand that we join the herd and head out on the road to make a living. And while taking the bus may seem like a safer option, we know that bus drivers are human and are not immune to the dangers of time change and drowsy driving.
Awareness and practical strategies can help but won't truly solve the problem.
While we have time change, we will have injuries.
Each us of can do our small part to reduce drowsy driving and reduce the chance of horrifying health emergencies behind the wheel.
And every step counts.
If you have been hurt in a car crash, and you suspect the at fault driver was driving drowsy, let the investigating police officer know. If there was no officer at the scene, then make sure this information is on your report at the Accident Reporting Centre. Then call an experienced injury lawyer.
Martin Law knows that a car crash is never just an accident.
Be Road Ready When You Set Your Clocks Forward
Time Change Hazards