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Careful! Your risk of a car accident is higher on Monday after Daylight Savings Time

March 9, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

When driving drowsy, you’re nearly five times more likely to be involved in a car crash

Drowsy Driving

There’s good news, and there’s some bad news. The good news is that more sun from spring forward daylight savings time is certainly welcome after this bitter cold winter we’ve had. But here’s the bad news: Losing that extra hour of sleep has surprisingly serious health and safety consequences. That includes increasing your risk of being involved in a car accident today.

Many experts say changing the clocks can disrupt sleep patterns, and it’s even been shown to put people at an increased short-term risk for heart attacks, according to a recent article on CBS News, “Simple tips to help you “spring forward” smoothly to daylight saving time.”  The article went on to say that sleep deprivation due to the time change has also led to an increase in road and automobile accidents.

For instance, a drowsy driver who has had less than five hours sleep per night is nearly five times more likely to be involved in a car crash than a driver who has had eight or more hours of sleep per night.

Specifically, “[c]ompared to sleeping 8 or more hours a night,” sleeping for the following periods of time is associated with the following risks “for involvement in a sleep-related versus non-sleep-related crash:”

  • “[S]leeping 7 to 8 hours was associated with a 1.2-times higher risk”;
  • “6 to 7 hours [was associated with a] 1.8 times higher [risk]”;
  • “5 to 6 hours [was associated with a] 3.3 times higher [risk]”;
  • “[L]ess than 5 hours [was associated with] a 4.5 times higher risk …”

Please keep this in mind today as you make your daily Monday commutes and run your errands.

Source: “Why do people have drowsy driving crashes? Input from drivers who just did,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, November 1999, Page 50;)

Related information:

Drowsy driving: Is it really that dangerous?

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