Daylight Saving Safety Tips

Does Daylight Saving Time improve safety? Does additional daylight reduce traffic accidents?

Daylight Saving starts at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12, 2023, when the clock will “spring forward” for most of us in the United States one hour both sunrise and sunset will be about 1 hour later than the day before. There will be more light in the evening.

Does Daylight Saving Time improve safety? Does additional daylight reduce traffic accidents?

You might think so, since driving in the daylight seems safer than driving at night. But the science says otherwise. The day after we "spring forward" and "fall back" both see an increase in fatal traffic accidents, which has been verified to be significant at about the 8% level. There is no corresponding decrease to balance it out.  Additionally, several studies have shown that workplace accidents and heart attacks are both more common in the week after the time change, too. Daylight Saving Time causes more deaths, rather than reducing them.

These issues really come down to an increase in fatigue and a change of our biological clocks as the actual time is adjusted from what we have become accustomed to. Fatigue has always been a contributing factor to injuries throughout the year. The change in clocks can accelerate that for a brief period of time for each of us as until we get used to the change.

Here are some tips to help you deal better with the spring forward involving the time change:

Move your clock forward early, say 8 or 9 p.m. Saturday evening. then go to bed at your normal time. You're giving up an hour during the day but will stay on a schedule sleep wise.
Skip the snooze button. Keeping a good routine when going to bed and waking is key to an easier transition. One day a year of change isn't enough to mess up your schedule as long as it isn't routine.
Get plenty of sunlight once you are awake. Daylight is a cue to your internal clock to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.
If you're sensitive to the time change, don't over-schedule yourself the first few days. Doing too much can make those feelings of fatigue even worse.
Be extra careful on the road. The darker part of the day now falls in the morning hours and people may be tired. It's a good time to play it extra safe on the roads.

Safety Reminders at Time Changes & Lighting Conditions at Twilight Zones working Outside:
Lighting conditions will be darker for about one hour following the time changes at the start (November time change) or end (March time change) of your shift. 
Inadequate lighting is one of the major causes of accidents involving moving vehicles & construction equipment.
In poor lighting conditions risk increases for trips and falls especially on uneven surfaces or slope areas. 
At twilight zones, be aware of the time needed for your vision (i.e. temporary blindness) to adjust to sharp contrast/changes in the amount of light between looking up at the sky (bright) and the ground surface (dark). Steep differences in light levels between work areas increases risks of accidents especially trips/falls on outdoor environment. 
Always wear high-visibility clothing.
Change over to clear safety glasses during nighttime, sunrise, and sunset.
Make sure your headlights are on when driving. 
Be mindful that warning signs may not be easy to see or read.
Keep in mind of a rule-of-thumb of minimum illumination intensities for general outdoor construction areas.
5............. | General construction area lighting.
3............. | General construction areas, concrete placement, excavation and waste areas, access ways, active storage areas, loading platforms, refueling, and field maintenance areas.
Plan your field work activities according to avoid walking on inclined/slope and uneven surface areas during the twilight time zone. Light conditions will drop very fast at sunset time and can reduce your visibility very quickly.

Vehicle Safety Tips:
Statistics indicate increases in pedestrian fatalities, during the month of time changes (November & March) as streets and outdoor work areas become darker earlier in the evening for November and in the morning for March.
Sleep Time: By moving the clocks ahead one hour in the Spring or one hour later in the Fall, which shifts work times and other scheduled events. These adjustments shifted your sleep rhythms, work schedule/activities which require about a week for the body to adjust. Sleep deprivation increasing the risk for mistakes including vehicle crashes. 
Time changes in the driving conditions in the late afternoon rush hour – from driving home from work during daylight hours to driving home in darkness. People may not have changed their driving habits to nighttime driving and might be at somewhat higher risk for a vehicle crash. Be extra vigilant while driving at work, and at home to protect yourself since others around you may be sleepier and at risk for making an error that can cause a vehicle crash or other accident.
For someone having problems with time changes to help your body to adjust, start adjusting your schedule/activities about three days before the time change. 

Be safe and get some rest!

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