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Posted on 11-06-2016

Increased Baltimore Auto Accidents Due To Daylight Savings Time Ending

As a Baltimore Chiropractor, the majority of my clinic time is spent treating patients in Baltimore that have been injured in auto accidents. Typically these patients suffer from post-traumatic headaches, neck pain, and back pain after having been involved in Baltimore auto accidents. Occasionally we see patients with shoulder, hip, and knee pain as well. In addition to auto accident injuries I spend time treating patients with non-traumatic headaches, neck pain, and back pain as well. We even see some patients who are not injured at all but just enjoy the process of having their spine adjusted in order to continue to live a pain free lifestyle.

Now that I've been practicing in Baltimore for over four years I am starting to see a trend of increased Baltimore auto accident injuries around the end of Daylight savings time. I wanted to look and see if there was a plausible explanation as to why we saw more of these injuries this time of year, and particularly, why we see so many immediately following the end of Daylight Savings Time. As it turns out, there are several explanations for this phenomenon. That is, it is true that there are statistically more automobile crashes this time of year.

As everyone knows, this weekend we "fall back" an hour. This means that we gain an extra hour of sleep. Essentially we trade that extra hour of sleep for an extra hour of evening darkness. Some researchers suggest that the increase in the number of auto accidents (both in terms of fatalities and injuries) is due to the fact that we have more people awake at 7 pm than we do at 7 am. By this argument we have more people on the road running errands and coming home from work when it is already dark out. This is a "volume" argument and suggests that due to the increased volume of people on the road, we see an increase in the number of auto accidents as a result. Additionally, researchers suggest that although it is darker out earlier in the day, people continue to drive as if its light out. That is, some forget to put on their headlights, and some continue to drive at higher rates of speed, as they would if it was still light out.

But lets not forget the impact on circadian rhythms. These "biological clocks" tell us when we should wake up and when we should go to bed. Although you seem to "gain" an hour in the morning your body is still used to being awake approximately 16 hours for the average person on the average day. When evening comes, now we have millions of people on the road who are tired and who have less visible driving conditions which can lead to more auto accidents.

Still, researchers suggest that the increase in auto accident injuries that we see are part behavioral as well. That is, in anticipation of "gaining" an extra hour of sleep, some people stay out later on the Saturday night preceding the end of daylight savings time. Not only are the more groggy and tired as a result which can impair their driving abilities, but in many cases, there can be excess alcohol consumption as a means of a "celebration" of the extra hour of sleep, which in and of itself, can lead to more crashes.

I find it very interesting that there is scientific proof of increased auto accident injuries and fatalities immediately following the end of daylight savings time. If you are interested in reading the abstract of the journal article that found these conclusions you can click here.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured as a result of a daylight savings time Baltimore auto accident injury, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We would be happy to help!

Dr. Gulitz

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