Home Spring Forward Driving Syndrome: Be aware of loss of sleep when driving

Spring Forward Driving Syndrome: Be aware of loss of sleep when driving


AAA-LogoThis weekend we spring forward losing an hour of our day in exchange for extended daylight hours, as Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, March 9.  However, come Monday morning, many drivers may have lost a spring in their step and may not be fully alert as they travel to work and school.  Many motorists may now be faced with a darker morning drive or sun glare from a rising, as well as setting sun depending on their commuting times.

“As we spring forward this weekend, we all look forward to longer daylight hours in the evening, however that also means dark hours in the morning for many commuters” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “AAA advises motorists to get plenty of sleep Sunday evening in preparation for daylight saving time to avoid drowsy driving.”

An estimated 17 percent of fatal crashes, 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization, and seven percent of all crashes requiring a tow involve a drowsy driver, according to a 2010 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year.  The actual figure may be higher because police can’t always determine with certainty when driver fatigue results or is a contributory factor in a crash.

AAA Mid-Atlantic advises motorists to make sure they get adequate sleep before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults get 7-9 hours of sleep to maintain proper alertness during the day.


Signs of Drowsy Driving

  • You find yourself drifting out of your lane or hitting rumble strips.
  • You can’t keep eyes open and focused.
  • You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
  • You miss signs or drive past your exit.
  • You feel irritable and restless.



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