YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — With daylight saving time right around the corner, that missing hour of sleep and darker morning commute could cause problems for some commuters and pedestrians.
The “spring forward” will start at 2 a.m. Sunday in Ohio and many other states. This means that for many, morning commutes will be darker, which can be especially dangerous for pedestrians and those waiting at bus stops, according to Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs at AAA East Central.
“Less sleep can lead to an increase in the number of drivers,” Podguski says. ” Motorists should prepare themselves to adjust to losing an hour of sleep and then driving in darker conditions.”
Some of the most common signs of drowsy driving include:
- Having trouble keeping your eyes open
- Drifting from your lane
- Not remembering the last few miles driven
Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who don’t get enough sleep put everyone on the road at risk. The research suggests that drowsy driving crashes are almost eight times more common than federal estimates, due to the difficulty in citing drowsiness as a cause for a crash. AAA suggests that drowsy driving can be almost as dangerous as drunk driving.
Dr. Mike Sevilla with Family Practice Center of Salem says even the one hour difference can affect your body.
“People not only are late the next day but, sometimes that can cause accidents cause you’re not really awake enough,” says Dr. Mike Sevilla of Family Practice Center of Salem. “Sometimes, physically can be having heart issues if they’re prone to heart issues.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 35% of drivers sleep less than the recommended seven hours — which could be exacerbated by the weekend’s spring forward.
AAA suggests drivers take these precautionary steps ahead of the change:
- Plan for an extra hour of sleep to offset the time change
- Avoid heavy foods before driving
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment
- For longer trips, schedule a break every two hours or 100 miles
Pedestrians can follow these measures to increase their safety:
- Pay attention while walking, especially near crosswalks
- Wear bright colors or reflective clothing at dusk and at night
- Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark
- Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets
- Walk on the sidewalk, or walk facing traffic if there are no sidewalks
- Cross at intersections, and never run out from in between parked cars on the side of the road