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The link between daylight saving time and car accidents in Maryland

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | car accidents |

Daylight Saving Time is more than just “springing forward” or “falling back.” The annual time change directly impacts people’s daily routine, sometimes with unintended consequences. A common occurrence is the rise in road accidents in Maryland during this time of the year. Here’s why that happens.

Daylight saving time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is a seasonal practice where people adjust their clocks forward by one hour to extend daylight hours into the evening. It usually starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

The chronological shuffle’s effect on commute

When you “spring forward,” you lose an hour of sleep and transition to a period of lighter evenings. The sudden change in your circadian rhythms can leave you groggy and less alert, especially during that first week. Getting behind the wheel can be particularly dangerous, as your reaction times slow down and your cognitive abilities become impaired.

Drowsy driving and car accidents go hand in hand. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that approximately 16% to 21% of all reported fatal vehicle crashes involved a drowsy driver.

Furthermore, it is important to note that sunrise and sunset times change. This means that it may still be dark outside during the morning commute, making it harder to see the road and potential hazards. In contrast, when the day ends, people, especially pedestrians, may feel a false sense of security while walking outside during daylight hours, leading to a higher chance of accidents.

Legal considerations for accidents after time change

In the unfortunate event of an accident, understanding Maryland’s legal framework is essential. For instance, you must call the police in case someone is hurt. The state uses at-fault tort laws in personal injury cases, meaning the responsible party is liable for damages. To prove fault, you need to provide evidence proving responsibility and negligence.

While the benefits of Daylight Saving Time are undeniable, you cannot overlook its influence on driving behavior and road safety. As such, it may be worth adopting safer driving practices to ensure your safety and that of other road users. And in case of an accident, act promptly to secure the compensation you need to cover your expenses and losses.



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