Many New Mexico residents enjoy having an extra hour of sleep when they set their clocks back by one hour to mark the end of daylight saving time, but many road safety experts dread the annual change. Any disruption in sleep patterns can affect the body’s circadian rhythm and impair concentration during the day, which can be extremely dangerous when darkness begins to fall just as commuters are heading home.
Car accidents linked to fatigue claim about 6,400 lives and cause approximately 50,000 serious injuries each year according to the National Sleep Foundation, and the results of a study conducted by the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia suggest that this type of crash is far more common in the two weeks following the end of daylight saving time. The problem is made worse by drivers who do not take the dangers of excessive tiredness seriously. More than one in four of the motorists polled by the American Automobile Association in 2018 admitted that they had remained behind the wheel while dangerously fatigued at least once during the previous 30 days.
Some experts believe that the annual surge in motor vehicle accidents following the end of daylight saving time is caused by poor visibility as it takes drivers days or even weeks to adjust to driving home in the dark. Many parts of the country experience heavy rainfall in November, which adds to the dangers by making roadways slippery and creating glare from streetlights.
Drowsy drivers rarely brake before crashing, which means the accidents they cause can be catastrophic in nature. When pursuing civil remedies on behalf of seriously injured road users, experienced personal injury attorneys may consult with trauma doctors and physical therapists. This may help attorneys ensure that they seek damages that are sufficient to cover their client’s lost income and long-term medical costs.