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Daylight savings time can be deadly

From the Office of Sheriff R.A. Strickland, Colleton County Sheriff’s Office

Early this Sunday morning we will be turning our clocks back one hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time. Rolling back the clock may sound like a great opportunity to stay up later, however, the time change can impact the quality of your sleep and affect your body’s internal clock. Whether you’re walking, cycling or driving, take advantage of the extra hour, sleep well, and be proactive on the road as the days get shorter.
With daylight savings time coming to an end an increase of darkness around the time of rush hour occurs when traffic is at its peak and many residents are making their way home from work. Drivers are adjusting to the decreased visibility during this time – including pedestrians, who might take chances of crossing roads when they shouldn’t. People choosing to walk around dusk are three times more likely to be struck and killed by vehicles in the days following the end of daylight saving time than before the time change.
The National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF) conducted studies proving that auto accidents increase after clocks fall back an hour. Besides the lack of visibility, driving in the dark can also make drivers drowsier than usual. Changes in waking time conjoined with the onset of darkness throw off our internal clocks. This increases driving risks.
The end of daylight savings time can leave many lethargic, which poses safety concerns both at home and in the workplace. Some things to keep in mind with the time change are:
Fatigue – Studies show that it takes people who work the traditional 9 am – 5 pm work hours several days to fully readjust their sleep schedule after the time change. While it is great to get an extra hour of sleep as opposed to losing an hour of sleep, there is a physiological consequence of changing our clocks.
Accidents – Evidence shows that time change increases safety problems both at work and home. Being aware of the increased risk of accidents in the time frame immediately following the time change may help you stay alert. As we fall back and head towards winter, follow these tips to reduce accidents after the clocks change: Use the cue of setting your clocks back to:

  1. Allow extra time for your morning commute
    Allow a few more minutes for your morning commute so you won’t be overstressed by the inevitable delays that are likely to occur.
  2. Keep your distance
    While it’s always good driving practice maintaining plenty of space around your vehicle, especially behind the vehicle ahead, be meticulous about doing so in this transitional time. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who is experiencing the time change blue and give your drivers a little extra leeway.
  3. Don’t be distracted
    Distraction and driving are never a good mix. It’s not just a matter of avoiding cell phone use while driving, although that should go without saying. Be ultra-aware of everything going on around you, and anticipate and prepare for what could happen.
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