When most people think about car accident dangers in the winter, they think of snow and ice on the roads. Floridians don’t need to worry about that, but there is still an increased risk of auto accidents during the winter months. Auto accident lawyers in West Palm Beach know daylight savings time and early dark put pedestrians and motorists at increased risk just in time for the busy winter tourism season.
Winter Accident Risks in West Palm Beach
Some bad weather has already hit West Palm Beach this year, with News Channel 6 reporting on crashes caused by wind and rain on a soggy night early this November. The rainstorm left many residents sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic and reportedly caused dozens of accidents along the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 95. One such accident, a semi-truck that jack-knifed around 6:40 p.m. resulted in the southbound lanes of the turnpike being closed for several hours.
And, thanks to daylight savings, it is now getting darker much earlier, leaving more workers commuting home in the evenings after night has fallen. This has been proven to have a significant impact on the number of car accidents that occur each winter.
Daylight Savings Time is Dangerous
In Britain, there were three years during which daylight savings time was not observed and the clocks were not set back. As a result, researchers had the opportunity to assess the impact of this time change on auto accidents.
As predicted, when it was darker in the morning, there were more accidents in the morning but fewer accidents in the evening since it stayed lighter later. The reverse was also true – when the clocks were set back and the mornings were brighter, there were fewer crashes in the a.m. However, the correlation wasn’t exact. The increase in crashes at nighttime was not offset by the decrease in accidents in the morning when the clocks were set back.
This means that, unfortunately, daylight savings time makes the roads less safe. As the Coventry Telegraph reports, 527 people die each year as a result of car accidents that occur due to daylight savings. These motorists are killed because night drivers are more likely to get into accidents as a result of reduced visibility.
The NHTSA, for example, indicates that drivers can see just 160 feet ahead in the night, yet need 1.5 seconds to stop. This leaves very little margin of error for motorists coming home in the dark. Drivers who are tired from a long work day or speeding because they are eager to get home are significantly more likely to crash since they may not see obstacles in their path in time to brake.
Motorists need to be aware of this increased accident risk during the winter months and should take steps to ensure that they drive slowly, pay careful attention and practice safe driving when coming home at night.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact our car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., at (800) 608-2965 for a free case consultation.