10 Oct

The Impact Of Daylight Savings Time On Florida Auto Accidents

General, Tips

daylight savings time ending

Yes, Daylight Savings Time ends on November 5th this year, and yes, Floridians unfortunately still have to deal with the whole “moving the clocks back by one hour” thing. It’s a hassle made even more annoying by the fact that our smart devices do this automatically, but most of us still have to shuffle around the house adjusting ovens, microwaves, car displays, and more in order for everything to be correct. 

Some people love that it gets dark earlier than usual, more people hate it, but most Floridians this year will be confused that this change is still occurring. The confusion is understandable; the Florida legislature passed a popular law in 2018 to do away with clock changes and stay permanently on Daylight Savings Time. However, the law has not yet received congressional approval, so at least this year, we can expect the same change as usual! 

Did you know that daylight savings time not only affects parents who have to change babies’ schedules and photographers who have to be mindful of an earlier golden hour, but also affects Florida drivers? In this blog, we’ll explain how DST can lead to more auto accidents and give you some tips for staying safe on the road this week and in the months to come until the next change.  

Ways That Daylight Savings Time Ending Can Make Driving More Dangerous

Falling back to standard time gives us an extra hour of sleep, but it also brings certain challenges when it comes to commuting. One study conducted using 37 years of Florida crash data showed that at the end of DST in the fall, there is a significant increase in accidents. Potential reasons why include…

Reduced evening visibility Evenings in the fall are going to become darker earlier – no more late sunsets. This means darker rush hours. More accidents traditionally happen at night because it’s just harder to see. It’s harder to judge distance and speed, so insufficient following distances frequently lead to rear-end crashes. It will look like nighttime as most people are still getting home at the same time from work once Daylight Savings Time ends, so, be aware of this!

Stress – Nighttime driving isn’t a lot of people’s favorite, especially if you have astigmatism and all the lights visually tend to blend together as it gets darker. Because of the holidays and school starting back up, there may be more drivers on the road, which can cause more traffic and more stressful driving. Listening to calming music or a podcast may help combat this, but be careful not to get distracted!

Fatigue – Disrupted sleep schedules can be hard for everyone, but especially people who are already overwhelmed at work, or the elderly. Did you know that the risk of a heart attack increases by 24% on the Monday after this time change every year? Our bodies’ circadian rhythms are delicate – even an hour can make a difference. Tired drivers can get drowsy and experience a lack of concentration, or not be as alert as they need to be to react quickly to conditions on the road, which can lead to more accidents! Make sure that you have a coffee if you need to, or an ice-cold water, or lower the windows to get air and stay awake until you adjust to the new time.

Pedestrians And Cyclists Harder To SeeThis isn’t directly related to the time change, but it is related to seasonal changes; people tend to wear darker colors in the fall. That, coupled with the fact that it gets darker earlier, means that if people are out walking or riding bikes (and in Florida, more people take advantage of the cooler weather to do this), you may not be able to see them as well! This is particularly important to note if you are driving in an area like a parking lot or neighborhood. Pay attention to crosswalks, even if the flashing lights aren’t on, and be vigilant to look out for joggers or people crossing the street!

Staying Safe Can Save You More Than Just Pain

Being injured in an accident due to fatigue, or distraction, or reduced visibility resulting from the end of DST, or injuring someone else in an accident for these reasons, can cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills and insurance deductibles. If you injure someone else, you may have to pay a ticket, and your insurance rates may go up. If you’re injured, you may have to pay for imaging tests, chiropractic care, prescription medications, surgeries, braces, crutches, and more – if you’re severely injured, you may require a hospital stay. You might have to take time off work to recover, missing out on wages you otherwise would have earned or using up paid time off. 

In Florida, everyone is required to have personal injury protection coverage (PIP), where your insurance pays a certain amount of the damages you incur. However, PIP often covers much less than what medical bills and deductibles amount to. Insurance companies will do everything they can to attempt to devalue your claim in order to keep more money in their own pockets.

The best way to avoid this situation is to be aware of the potential dangers caused by Daylight Savings Time ending and avoid getting into an accident in the first place, but you can’t help what other drivers do. If you are injured due to another driver’s negligence, especially if is around the time that Daylight Savings Time ends, you may have a strong case for compensation that an experienced Florida auto accident attorney can help you win! 

Call The Florida Law Group today to schedule your free consultation (you don’t have to pay us anything until we recover damages for you) and learn more about whether you have a case. Our award-winning injury lawyers have recovered over $1 billion for our clients and we won’t let you settle for less than what your injuries are worth!