Many Michigan residents are annoyed by daylight saving time, but research has shown that it is far more than just an annoyance or a reason for missed appointments. It can have important physiological effects. It may even be a strong contributor to car accident risks.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University performed a study on the matter in 1999. After analyzing 21 years of car accident data, the researchers came to a surprising conclusion about time changes and accidents. The researchers didn't expect to see any significant change, but they reported an average of 83.5 fatal accidents on the Monday after the clocks were changed compared with a typical Monday average of 78.2.
The researchers described several likely reasons behind the data they discovered. It shows that humans are surprisingly sensitive to even small changes in sleep schedule and routine. The hour lost to time change is similar to experiencing one hour of jet lag. The researchers also theorized that many Americans may already be on the edge of severe sleep deprivation. Losing one more hour of sleep pushes them into a danger zone where they are considerably less aware and able to respond to changes.
More accidents on the roads mean more drivers may need to consider what happens after an accident does occur. Many accidents caused by time change are minor, but even an accident that does not result in serious injury or death can be very expensive. A lawsuit is often required even in minor car accidents in order to claim economic damages from the other driver's insurance company. Any lawsuit can be complicated, requiring court filings and presentation of evidence. An insurance company might offer a settlement, but it should be appraised by an attorney before being accepted.