Daylight Savings Time (DST) used to give the farmers the daylight they needed to tend to their crops and animals properly. Nowadays, it can cause more damage than the good it provides. The change from DST twice a year seems to have an impact on drivers as well.
According to the University of Colorado at Boulder, the week after DST sees a 6% surge in fatal accidents based on a study lasting more than two decades. It seems that DST has a more significant impact on drivers than we once recognized.
What contributes to the accidents
Part of what makes DST a threat to drivers in the morning and evening commute regularity. Drivers often experience the same routine five days a week, and when something changes that routine, they may not be ready for it.
Getting up earlier because of DST can result in more drivers driving while exhausted. The drastic change in sunrise and sunset times can also catch a driver off-guard when they unexpectedly catch an eyeful of the sun at the wrong moment.
There was even a noticeable spike in accidents following the change of the actual date of DST. In 2007, the Emergency Policy Act moved the DST date to the second Sunday in March from the first Sunday in April. Moving the DST change date by just a few weeks was enough to result in a notable increase in accidents.
How to prepare for DST
Every spring and autumn, make sure you know when DST is coming, what direction to turn the clocks, and that you are getting enough sleep the night before. It may also help to keep a pair of sunglasses in the car to combat the inevitable increase in car accidents the week after DST.