Yesterday, in most of North America, people lost an hour of their time. Unless you’re a person who goes to church or work on Sunday, the time change didn’t really hit you until you woke up this morning. Or, rather tried to wake up, because it’s freaking early.
See, one of the big problems with springing forward is that people drive while tired. And tired driving is one of the largest causes of car accidents. One study found a 17 percent increase in car accident deaths the Monday after daylight savings time.
That’s a huge increase, and a dangerous one. If you can at all avoid being on the road today, avoid it. Or at least go in late after everyone’s woken up. If you can’t avoid it, here are some suggestions to keep yourself safe on the road.
It may be quite dark when you wake up and leave the house. That doesn’t help you stay awake. WebMD suggests light and lots of it. The light will help convince your body it’s time to be awake.
While not napping today could mean you’re tired driving home, if you take a nap you’re just prolonging your adjustment and you’ll be tired AND dangerous tomorrow. The Cleveland Clinic recommends heading outside for some sun when you feel tired today rather than taking a nap.
Plan for next year.
It’s a little late for this year, but for next year (“falling back” in the fall isn’t as hard on our bodies), start planning ahead and adjust your wake-up time by 15 minutes a day, 4 days in advance. I tell you this, but you won’t do it, because hey, sleeping in on the weekend. (Unless you have little kids, in which case, good luck.)
Be extra alert on the road.
Now that you know that accidents are up today, you can do what it takes to make sure you are focused when you drive. It won’t wake up everyone around you, but one less sleepy person on the road is better for everyone.