Posted in on October 31, 2016

Helping Teens Safely Navigate Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time officially ends on Sunday, November 6, 2016, at 2 am. This means Americans across most of the country will turn their clocks back by two hours, effectively losing two hours of sleep, leading to possibly the worst Monday of the year. Besides causing a few groggy days at school or work, daylight saving time doesn’t have much effect on teens’ day-to-day lives. The only major difference fall daylight saving makes is that it gets darker much quicker and seemingly for much longer—both in the morning and the evening.

These changes just happen to coincide with the times of the day when most American adults are heading to and from work, meaning that if your teens are driving in the dark, it’ll often be during rush hour. Driving in the dark is far more dangerous than driving when it’s light out—mostly because you’re tired and because it’s more difficult to see. Even though Americans only spend about a quarter of their time driving when it’s dark, 50 percent of crashes occur after sundown. Here are some safety tips to help your teens adjust to daylight saving time changes, and drive safely when the sun goes down.

Keep the lights bright.
When it’s dark out, your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision are greatly hindered. To add insult to injury, many drivers’ headlights can temporarily blind you when they drive past. To help you see better, always drive with your headlights on, making sure they’re clean and free from yellowing and fading. Humans are not that great at seeing in the dark, and bright lights can greatly improve your driving confidence and efficiency.

Take your time.
It’s hard to avoid the temptation of speeding—especially if you’re running late for school or work or want to get home to see your loved ones. Speeding in itself is dangerous, but pair it with darkness, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Don’t drive impatiently. It can be tempting to quickly pass a slowpoke driving in the left lane, but take your time to look around more than you would in the day, ensuring that you’re clear to pass safely.

Stay alert.
Drowsy driving is a huge problem with teens, who often work unconventional hours and spend nights out with their friends. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between 18 and 29 years of age are 71 percent more likely to drive while sleepy, compared to 52 percent of older adults. Encourage your teens to get a good night’s sleep every night, stop and take a nap if they’re drowsy, and avoid driving late at night.

Teenage driving can be a very scary subject for parents—especially when you factor in nighttime driving. And there’s good reason for this: Sixteen-year-olds are nearly twice as likely to be involved in fatal car accidents at night, and 15 percent of teenage nighttime car accidents happen between 9 p.m. and midnight. But as a parent, you’re not powerless. Help your teens practice safe driving techniques, and encourage them to avoid driving when it’s dark outside. With your help, your teenage drivers will stay safe during daylight saving time.

At Bachus & Schanker, we know how important your teen’s safety is to you. If you or a teen you know were injured in an accident, contact a knowledgeable Colorado personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve.

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