Increased Risk for Car Crashes During Switch to Daylight Saving
DEARBORN, Mich., (March 14, 2022) — AAA is sending out a Michigan statewide SPRING FORWARD SAFETY ALERT urging drivers to use extra caution during this first week of Daylight Saving Time (DST). Drowsy driving is a significant traffic safety issue. Michigan residents ‘springing forward’ by moving their clocks ahead one hour need to remember to adjust their sleep schedule to prevent drowsiness on the road.
According to AAA Foundation research:
- 95% of drivers view drowsy driving as very or extremely dangerous, but 17% admitted to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at least once in the previous 30 days before the survey (2020 Traffic Safety Culture Index).
- Drivers who have slept for less than 5 hours have a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk.
- Drivers who miss one to two hours of sleep can nearly double their risk for a crash.
“In today’s fast-paced, sleep-deprived world, drowsy driving continues to be a safety risk on our roads. Lack of sleep causes loss of focus and can prove dangerous while driving,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “AAA urges motorists across Michigan to be well-rested when they get behind the wheel and do their part to help everyone stay safe on the roads.”
AAA recommends that drivers:
- Should not rely on their bodies to provide warning signs for drowsiness and should instead prioritize getting at least seven hours of sleep before hitting the road.
- Travel at times of the day when they are normally awake.
- Avoid heavy foods.
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.
Also, as we spring ahead, mornings will be darker longer, which can make it harder to see when driving. Lack of visibility can make for unsafe driving conditions. As we adjust to daylight saving time, it’s a good time to check the condition of your headlights.
- With 50% of crashes occurring at night, drivers should check their headlights for signs of deterioration and invest in new headlights or, at a minimum, a low-cost headlight cleaning and restoration to boost the safety of driving after dark.
- Headlights can show signs of deterioration after 3 years but most commonly by year 5.
- AAA suggests drivers check their headlights for changes in appearance such as yellowing or clouding. If the bulb is difficult to see, it is time to have the lens replaced or restored as soon as possible.
- Replacement and restoration services are available at most repair shops, including AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.
Losing an hour over the weekend may make drivers feel foggy for the Monday morning commute. We encourage drivers to stay alert in areas where children are present, paying particular attention during the morning and afternoon hours while children are coming to and from school.
Having a heightened sense of awareness of children and following the practices below will help to keep your drive and children safe:
- Slow down in or near the school and residential areas.
- Look for clues such as AAA School Safety Patrol™ members, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds, indicating children could be in the area.
- Scan between parked cars and other objects for signs that children could dart into the road.
- Practice extra caution in bad weather or times of limited visibility.
- Always stop for school buses that are loading or unloading students.
Remember, School’s Open – Drive Carefully. You can make a difference by staying alert and taking extra care while driving where children are present.