Daylight Saving Time and Your Monday Morning Commute

March is here. And, along with basketball and St. Patrick's Day, we have the start of daylight saving time. That's right; next Sunday, we set out clocks an hour ahead and revel in an extra sixty minutes of daylight every evening. It's hard to argue with more sunshine.

 

But, that extra daylight comes at a cost. While daylight saving time falls on a Sunday - March 10 this year - most of us will still be extra-groggy when we wake for work on Monday, March 11. That grogginess, combined with less morning sunlight, can have a real impact on the safety of your morning commute. Numerous studies have shown a measurable increase in traffic accidents in the days after daylight saving time, including one study that found an 8% increase in traffic accidents on the Monday after daylight saving time.

 

This makes sense. Our bodies require several days to adjust to the time change, and most of us simply push through with less sleep. In addition to being more tired, many of us are also commuting to work in darker conditions. The positive here is that more of us are able to drive home before the sun sets.

 

Sunrise on Monday, March 11 will be a 7:25 am. Many commuters in Northern Virginia are already on the road by then. If you're among them, you can take a few easy steps to increase your safety on Monday's commute:

  • Double check your headlights, taillights and blinkers to be sure they are all working properly.

  • Go to bed early on Sunday, ensuring you'll be well-rested for Monday's commute.

  • Pay attention to how you feel on Monday. If you're overly tired, delay your commute until you feel awake and alert.

  • Drive cautiously and be alert of other drivers. Everyone will be a bit more tired than usual.

  • Leave yourself a little extra time for your commute; groggy drivers can lead to sluggish traffic.

 

After a few days, you and your fellow commuters will have adjusted to the time change. In the meantime, please be alert for signs of drowsiness in you and in other drivers.

Categories: People

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