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Does the Fall Back to Standard Time Increase the Risk of a Car Crash in Harrisburg?

clock on fall leavesYou have probably read or heard about how the change to daylight savings time can cause health issues and an increase in car crashes, but what about the change back to standard time in November?

Even though you are not losing an hour, each day will be shorter, which means you are probably going to spend more time on the road after the sun goes down. Driving at night tends to increase the risk of a crash.

Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg auto accident lawyers discuss the dangers of the November time change for drivers, including liability for the types of crashes that may occur during the four-month break from daylight savings.

Call today to discuss post-crash legal options. No upfront costs. (717) 510-1782

Why the Fall Back to Standard Time Can Be Dangerous For Drivers

Technically, the only difference between standard time and daylight savings time is an hour. However, this single hour can cause a massive disruption to your sleep cycle, which can have a negative effect on your:

  • Mood – People may get angry about a change in routine, which could lead to aggressive driving or even road rage. Anger can also be a result of being tired. When you are tired, you are more prone to stress.
  • Cognitive functioning and awareness – It may be much harder to keep your attention on driving. You may also take longer to identify dangerous situations. This may be because your brain is taking longer to process what is going on.
  • Ability to stay awake – The time change means you are more likely to be driving at night. You are also going to be on the road an hour later than usual. This can make it feel like you are driving more than you normally would, which can make you more tired than you otherwise would be.

The effects of the fall back to standard time can result in a lot of dangerous driving behaviors, such as:

  • Tailgating other cars
  • Failing to stay in your lane
  • Speeding
  • Running red lights
  • Driving the wrong way
  • Drowsy driving or falling asleep at the wheel
  • Missing detour or construction zone signs

The November Time Change Is Also Dangerous For Deer

A study published in November 2022 shows that the change back to standard time is also dangerous for deer. There is a 16 percent increase in collisions involving deer the week after the time change occurs in the fall. In fact, the number of these types of crashes peaks in late October and November because there is less sunlight.

The study looked at one million deer vs. vehicle crashes between 1994 and 2021. Researchers found 76 percent of these accidents happened at night.

Dauphin County had the second-highest number of deer car crashes between 2018 and 2022.

Common Types of Car Accidents During Nighttime

Many types of car accidents happen at night, but there are some that tend to be more common than others, such as:

  • Rear-end accidents Rear-end crashes are often the result of tailgating. Drivers may not realize they are following other cars too closely. This could be because they are drowsy and less aware. Drivers may be less patient at night so they might tailgate out of anger.
  • Head-on collisions – These are often the result of drowsy or impaired driving. Drivers do not realize they are going the wrong way until they are involved in a head-on crash.
  • Intersection crashes – Drivers may be less patient and have a harder time seeing other cars because it is dark outside. This can make turns at intersections much more dangerous.

Liability for These Collisions

Despite the time change and its effects on your circadian rhythm, you still have a duty of care to other drivers. You must obey traffic laws and take reasonable steps to help ensure your safety and the safety of others sharing the road. Breaching a duty of care makes you liable for any damages that result if a crash occurs.

If you were injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver, you may be eligible to seek compensation. However, the legal process can be complicated, so you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer.

Reducing Your Risk of a Crash From November to March

Many states have tried to make daylight savings time permanent. However, this would require a change to federal law and that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Until something changes, you are going to be setting your clocks back in November for the foreseeable future. That means you need to take steps to reduce your risk of a crash.

First, it is critical that you get enough sleep on a consistent basis. Most adults need about eight hours of sleep each night. You may think you can overcome lack of sleep with caffeine, but there is nothing that can make up for a lack of sleep. Even if you feel a temporary boost in energy from caffeine, you are probably more tired than you realize.

Practicing defensive driving is a good approach any time you get behind the wheel. This means following traffic laws like the speed limit. Keep a safe distance between your car and the one in front of you.

You should also give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. If you are in a rush, you are more likely to speed or engage in reckless behavior on the road.

Call Schmidt Kramer After a Car Crash Injury

While the change back to standard time can be difficult for drivers, they are still expected to exercise caution to prevent accidents. If drivers are negligent and it results in a crash that injures others, victims may be able to seek compensation.

At Schmidt Kramer, there are no upfront legal costs. The initial legal consultation is also free. Our firm has decades of experience and has secured more than $100 million on behalf of our clients.

We guide victims throughout the legal process with the goal of securing maximum compensation.

Contact our firm today to discuss your next steps: (717) 510-1782.