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Daylight Savings Time Increases Truck Accident Risks

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Personal Injury on March 16, 2021

In observance of daylight savings time, people throughout the country set their clocks forward one hour on March 14, 2021.  This means the days will continue to get longer, which is often good news for people who enjoy spending time outdoors. However, it creates serious hazards for drivers. Disruptions in sleep schedules and other problems associated with the time change make truck accidents more common in the weeks after. 

How Daylight Savings Time Contributes To Truck Accidents

Many Portland residents would like to think that this will be the last time they are required to ‘spring forward’ in observance of daylight savings time. Under Senate Bill 320, Oregon voted to do away with the practice of turning clocks back an hour in the fall in 2019. However, provisions within the law required that both California and Washington adopt similar legislation before it was enacted. Washington did so shortly after and while California has a proposed bill, it stalled without ever getting passed. 

The controversy stems from the potential health risks associated with the practice. In addition to increasing the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and other adverse events, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that there is a spike in fatal motor vehicle accidents in the weeks following daylight savings time. Disrupted sleep schedules are the culprit. Missing just an hour of sleep due to the time change and having trouble adapting to a new schedule can mimic many of the same symptoms as jet lag, leaving people feeling perpetually tired. Unfortunately, this can hit truckers particularly hard. Among the effects that increase truck accident risks include: 

  • Decreased reaction times, making it harder to respond to unexpected conditions or changes in traffic;
  • Increased distraction and inability to focus, impacting their ability to concentrate on the road and the task of driver;
  • Lack of coordination, making it harder to complete the complex tasks associated with driving a truck;
  • Increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. 

Minimizing Truck Accident Risks On The Road

According to Healthline, traffic accidents jump by close to 10 percent in the weeks following daylight savings time. In terms of truck accidents, other motorists involved typically suffer the greatest harm. To minimize your risks, follow these steps: 

  • Be cautious at night or in the early morning hours, which is when truck accidents are most likely to happen;
  • Avoid sudden movements, such as cutting trucks off while passing;
  • Avoid driving in their blind spots, which extend out in front, behind, and alongside the truck;
  • If you see a truck swerving or engaged in other erratic behavior, pull over to the first safe place and notify authorities. 

Let Us Help You Today

At the Johnston Law Firm P.C., we represent motorists in truck accident cases, helping them get the compensation they deserve in a claim. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorneys online today.

Marc Johnston
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