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Bicyclists Beware: Drowsy Driver Danger as Daylight Savings Ends

drowsy driverFall is an ideal time for cyclists in Atlanta. Beautiful cool and dry weather, no humidity or bugs, perfect conditions to get out on the road for some nice rides around town.

But Fall also brings about the end of Daylight Savings Time, and with it, an increase in the number of drowsy drivers on the road. Drivers who are drowsy have slower reaction times than normal. Brain processing runs a little bit slower. We wear bright and reflective clothes on the road to make ourselves easier to see, but as one testifying expert said at a trial I had on behalf of an injured cyclist, vision is a mental process and not a physical one. People only see things that register in their brains. If their brain doesn’t register an object, there is no vision of that object.

The National Road Safety Foundation, a non-profit organization formed more than 50 years ago with a solid focus on promoting safe driving, warns that the disruption of normal sleep patterns that comes when we change the clocks can often lead to drowsiness behind the wheel. Studies show 60 percent of motorists have driven while fatigued and more than a third admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel.

As a result, the end of Daylight Savings time presents a dangerous time for cyclists on the roads of Atlanta. Teenagers, who as a group are known not to get as much sleep as recommended, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of time change. A drowsy teenage driver is a danger on many levels, but particularly to cyclists out for an early morning ride or catching that late afternoon ride that had been in daylight but is now largely in the dark. When the clock changes, it’s more important than ever to make sure that:

  • You wear bright visible clothing;
  • You have reflectors and refliective materials on your bicycle and gear;
  • You have new batteries or have charged your lights and that they’re ON;
  • Don’t ride with earbuds blasting loud music, you need all your senses;
  • You keep a sharp lookout and don’t assume that the driver who’s looking at you is actually seeing you.
  • Let’s all enjoy some great rides this Fall, but let’s be especially wary of the dangers presented by drowsy drivers as the set the clocks back at the end of October.

    If you or someone you know has been the victim of a bicycle accident, please contact the experienced attorneys at Bruce Hagen Law today! Personal injury is all we do!

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