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How losing an hour can lead to car crashes

When you woke up this morning, you may have still been tired and wishing you had an extra hour to sleep. Unfortunately, we lost that hour over the weekend, thanks to the start of Daylight Saving Time. So, you can blame your need for an extra cup of coffee this morning on DST.

There may also be reason to blame a serious car accident on DST. Losing an hour of sleep and adjusting to changes in sunset and sunrise times can take a bigger toll on us than you might expect. 

Most obviously, perhaps, is the fact that people experience sleepiness after losing an hour, particularly in the morning. Drowsiness makes people slower to respond, which can be devastating when operating a vehicle. After all, crashes happen in a matter of seconds. 

Changes in daylight can also change our drive to and from work. The sun glaring in drivers' eyes can make it difficult to see well, and drivers who fail to turn on their headlights in the morning when it's still dark can pose a serious threat to others.

Statistically, there is no clear answer on whether DST contributes to more accidents or not. As noted in this Vox article, data from the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration showed an increase in fatal accidents on the Monday after DST starts, while other studies suggest no change at all.

However, what we do know is that drowsy, reckless and negligent driving are dangerous behaviors no matter what day it is. Things like sleepiness and sunlight may seem like minor factors in road safety, but in reality, drivers who are tired or fail to take into account poor visibility while driving run the risk of causing a devastating car crash.

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