Daylight Savings Time kicks in across Georgia on March 8th. And while many people look forward to the longer daylight hours, the change in time also means disrupted sleep schedules as people lose that one hour of sleep. This in turn means many people are getting behind a wheel and driving to work or elsewhere while drowsy. Unfortunately, drowsy driving is a cause of many accidents across the metro Atlanta region every year
Starting March 8 and through the month of November, clocks in Georgia will be set forward by an hour. That means losing an hour of sleep in your schedule. Many Georgians are already sleeping less than the recommended 8 hours per night, and losing one more hour due to spring time change only increases the risk of drowsiness while driving to work. This spring, take steps to avoid driving while drowsy.
First, get to bed an hour earlier to make up for the loss of sleep. Avoid staying up late at night with social media on your phone, computer, or other electronics. Always being on social media can be a cause for loss of sleep, and while it may be tempting to check your phone for one more Instagram update or Tweet one last time before sleeping, keep in mind that it can be dangerous for your state of mind and your driving skills the next day. Plus, the blue light exposure from electronics right before you go to bed will only prolong you being able to fall asleep.
If your daily commute involves driving on a highway, be extra cautious about getting sufficient sleep. Statistics indicate that these roads are even more likely to cause a driver to become sleepy or fatigued.
You should also be especially careful with your medications during daylight savings time. Don’t make sudden changes in your medication schedule without informing your doctor. Medications already have an effect on your sleep habits. Combining that with a change in time can be especially tricky.
Always be on the lookout for other sleepy motorists. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that as many as 70 million persons in the United States are sleep-deprived. What’s more, as many as one in four people have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once. Common signs of drowsy driving that you need to look out for in other drivers include erratic driving, veering from lanes, and weaving between lanes. If you see a driver like this on the roads, avoid driving too close to him or around him.
The risk of drowsy driving is especially greater for truck drivers. Truckers drive long hours, and often drive on long and empty stretches of highway which can cause sleepiness. Driving on empty roads can also lull a truck driver into a false sense of security since they don’t always worry about the risk of crashes when there is little traffic on the road.
If you are driving a truck, or even a regular vehicle, and feel yourself nodding off, or can’t remember the last minute of driving, recognize the danger signs. Pull over somewhere safe, and rest for a while. Even a 20-minute nap can be sufficient to recharge you and leave you feeling fresh enough to drive.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident, talk to an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Personal Injury Lawyers, and discuss your chances for compensation.