It seems like a small thing, it’s only an hour, many people argue. But even this hour is able to make a lot of waves with a lot of people. Sometimes they may not even realize it themselves, but they are tired and because of this, it is even harder to concentrate. Which can be a problem behind the wheel.
Experts from the American University of Colorado investigated the effect of time changes on driver behavior. And their conclusions are clear. According to them, the performance of sleepy drivers drops to the level of drivers driving under the influence of alcohol. “Drivers may have a problem with perceiving and evaluating potentially dangerous situations, and their reactions may not be fast enough. A sudden reduction in sleep time by one hour disrupts its quality, which subsequently leads to problems with insufficient attention behind the wheel,” explains traffic expert Roman Budský.
And the words of experts are also confirmed by statistics. Within two weeks after the time change, the incidence of fatal traffic accidents increases by 6 percent. University experts came to this result by analyzing more than 730,000 traffic accidents that occurred between 1996 and 2017.
The absolute worst day is the Monday immediately following the weekend, when the time changes. The number of traffic accidents can jump by a sixth on this day. “On the roads, you meet a large number of sleep-deprived people who make above-average mistakes, and they can also be irritable, which leads to a lower level of mutual tolerance,” adds Budský.
In addition, the data of American scientists also confirm the figures from the Czech Republic. For example, the insurance company Kooperativa last year saw a significant increase in claims for basically a whole week after the time change. “On Monday, the first of April 2019, there were approximately 11% more damages, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after the time change brought even more than a 20% increase in damages, compared to the same days before the time change,” Kooperativa’s press spokesman Milan Káňa points out about the critical days .
According to traffic expert Roman Budský, young drivers under the age of 25, seniors, people working in shifts and also professional drivers who drive hundreds of kilometers a day are the most at risk these days. Budský therefore advises to get enough sleep before driving and to have time reserve for the journey so that you don’t have to rush. If we do feel tired, we should take breaks during the journey to stretch, drink coffee and replenish fluids.
Do you feel tired after the time change?
Yes, I take it badly
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