This year, daylight saving time ends on Sunday, November 7. Experts have long warned that the week after the time change is hazardous for drivers, increasing the chances of car accidents, and many states have campaigned to do away with daylight saving time altogether. Until that happens, here are tips for safe driving when the clocks turn back.
Some Tips to Drive Safely after the Time Change
Be well rested. It is only an hour difference, but your body needs at least a few days to adjust to the time change, so be prepared and start off well rested. Be sure to get a lot of sleep the week before the time change so that you are not making the change with a sleep deficit. Sleep deprivation can cause drowsy driving, which is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsiness has many of the same effects on driving, including impaired judgment, slowed reflexes, and difficulty focusing. Drivers need to be well rested to stay alert.
Perform season maintenance. Prepare your vehicle for the change in time as well. With fewer daylight hours and the sun setting earlier, you will want to make sure your headlights, taillights, and brake lights are in good working order. Adjust headlights if necessary and clean them to ensure good visibility. Mirrors and windows should also be cleaned inside and out to reduce glare. Check windshield wipers and replace them if the rubber blade has degraded.
Turning back the clocks also means that colder weather is just around the corner. Cold and damp conditions make road more slippery. Check your tire treads and top up all your vehicle’s fluids. Be sure that you have all the items on this safety checklist: flashlight, extra batteries, flares, first aid kit, phone charger, jumper cables, blankets, and extra food and water.
Be vigilant for pedestrians and cyclists. There will be more sunlight in the mornings after the time change, but until people have adjusted, they may be feeling more tired and apt to make mistakes. Keep an eye out for students walking or biking on their way to school and drive slowly in school zones, near bus stops, and approaching crosswalks. Conversely, dusk will come sooner, and it is crucial to be on the lookout for pedestrians and bikers who may be hard to see in dark clothing or without reflective gear. Studies show an increase in the number of fatal car accidents in the evening hours after the clocks change. So that others can see you, turn on your headlights as soon as sunlight begins to dim and whenever the weather requires the use of windshield wipers.
Practice good driving behaviors. These safety tips are valid year-round, but this is the perfect time to review good driving behaviors to reduce the chances of being involved in a car accident.
- Leave plenty of following distance between cars so you have time to react to unexpected events.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Put cellphones away and use the do not disturb function. If you must make a call or send a text, pull over to the side of the road.
- Prepare your car before you start to drive: program the navigation, adjust the mirrors and seat, and choose music while the car is not moving.
- Before pulling out of the driveway or a parking space, walk around the back of the car and check all mirrors before moving the car.
- Avoid distractions such as eating, drinking, putting on makeup, or reaching for objects.
- Know your route before you start and leave early to get to your destination so that you are not speeding over the limit to get there on time.
- Check the weather and plan accordingly. In bad weather conditions, travel takes longer.
- Never drive after drinking or using drugs. Designate a driver, take a taxi, or use a rideshare service.
What Should I Do if I Get in a Car Accident?
The incidence of evening car accidents rises in the days following the end of daylight saving time. Drivers need time to adjust to the earlier onset of darkness and the effect of the time change on the body clock. If you are involved in any car accident, take the following steps:
- Check yourself, your passengers, and the other driver and their passengers for injuries. Call 911 immediately if anyone has been seriously injured.
- Call the police to the scene of the accident so that an official report of the incident will be filed.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Get their name, address, phone number, and insurance information.
- Ask any eyewitnesses to recount what they saw of the accident. Make a video or ask them to write down their statement. Get their contact information in case you need it in the future for the insurance company.
- Document as much as possible what happened. Take pictures of the damage to vehicles and property, any injuries, the weather conditions, road conditions, and any skid marks on the road.
- Do not admit guilt at the scene of the accident, as this may be entered into the accident report and used later by the insurance company.
- Contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you determine your legal options.
Towson Car Accident Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, Advocate for Injured Victims
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be eligible for compensation. The experienced Towson car accident lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC, will investigate your accident thoroughly and fight to hold the negligent party accountable. For more information and a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 443-589-0150. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.