By Vogel Bros. Safety Department

March 11, 2018 is Daylight Saving Time – when most of America will “spring forward” their clocks. Many of us will grumble about the precious hour of sleep this annual event costs us. But what many people fail to recognize is that this event can also cost some their health and safety.

Pedestrians walking around at dusk are nearly three times more likely to be struck and killed by cars in the days following the end of Daylight Saving Time (DST) than just before the time change. The Fatal Accident Reporting System found a 17% increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after DST. And on average, 3.6 more injuries occurred at work on the Monday following DST compared to other work days throughout the year (2,649 more days of work were lost as a result of those injuries*).

What does this mean for you and your family? Here are a few ways you can help mitigate the cost of DST:

  • Go to bed early the days leading up to the time change. Start going to bed early, about 15 minutes each night. This will give your body a chance to adjust over time rather than overnight.
  • Get some Vitamin D. Light, especially sunlight and Vitamin D, can help your body’s clock adjust to the time change. So try to get outside for a morning, lunch, or afternoon walk. The sun and fresh air will do your body good.
  • Bring your sunglasses. The shift in time often means commuters will be staring into the bright sun on the way home. Make sure you’ve got a pair of sunglasses in the car so you can see the road – and other cars and possible pedestrians – clearly.
  • Don’t drive distracted. No matter what time of year it may be, don’t drive distracted. Turn the radio down; drink your coffee when you reach your destination; don’t eat on the go; and save the call (even if it’s hands-free) for later.

It’s also noteworthy to point out that March 11 kicks off “Sleep Awareness Week,” to highlight the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals. Coincidence that this kicks off the same day as DST?

This year, don’t let DST cost you. Get plenty of sleep, take steps to live a healthy lifestyle, and take extra safety precautions to protect yourself and those around you.