Mar 06, 2020 1:00 PM

Drowsy driving a danger with daylight saving time change

Posted Mar 06, 2020 1:00 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — This Sunday we spring forward into Daylight Saving Time, but be vigilant if you need to drive that day or on Monday afterward.

"There could be some increased danger on the road," said Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. "You may not really realize it. Losing that hour of sleep can really create a situation where we have drowsy drivers on the road."

Kansas Department of Transportation data from 2018 revealed that drivers being fatigued or falling asleep was cited as a contributing factor in nearly 1,000 traffic crashes in the state.

"The recommendation is that you get at least seven hours of sleep before hitting the road," Steward said. "It's not always possible, but that's what is recommended. If you don't get that sleep, we've found that drivers who miss one or two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24 hour period nearly double their risk for a crash."

Drivers who have slept less than 5 hours have a crash risk that is comparable to someone driving drunk.

"Especially as we adjust to the difference in daylight with Daylight Saving Time, your body needs some time to adjust," Steward said. "When that Monday morning commute comes around, it's going to be a lot different than we've been seeing in the mornings. It's going to be a lot darker for longer in the mornings. Drivers, just make sure that you are aware. Be extra careful around school buses, in neighborhoods. Make sure that your headlights and all of the lights on your vehicle and your windows are clean so people can see you."

96% of drivers view drowsy driving as a completely unacceptable behavior that is a serious threat to their safety, but nearly 29% admit to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at least once in the prior 30 days.