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Time change no excuse for drowsy driving

By: Eric Czarnik | C&G Newspapers | Published March 7, 2018

METRO DETROIT — Growing tired of early evenings is typical for many people this time of year, but the switch to daylight saving time is no excuse to be tired on the roads.

AAA Michigan is offering caution about drivers who might be drowsier than usual this time of year. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. March 11 this year. By springing forward, people will set their clocks an hour ahead.

According to AAA public affairs specialist Gary Bubar, this will mean that 7 a.m. — and the morning commute — will suddenly be darker than before. 

“If you’re driving to work, recognize that that’s going to create issues for kids going to and from school,” he said.

Likewise, the sun will be out later during the after-work commute. 

As a result, Bubar warned drivers to get adequate sleep and to be cautious of other vehicles on the Monday and Tuesday following the time shift.

“One of the things that I think has been underestimated is the adaptive time it takes,” he said. 

“Even though it’s only an hour of sleep that we lose… even that is like changing to a different time zone. And there is a little bit of a lag in there that will affect you for a day or two.
So make sure that you’re getting enough sleep.”

In February, AAA said 29 percent of drivers recently admitted  to operating a vehicle in the previous month while having difficulty keeping their eyes open.

Besides proper sleep, AAA says that drivers can help stay alert by staying away from heavy foods or medicine that lists drowsiness as a side effect. Travel should be during normal waking hours and should be punctuated by breaks during long trips, the auto agency adds. 

Kendall Wingrove, communications manager for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said he didn’t know whether daylight saving time causes more instances of drowsy driving. But he said statistics show that around 1 in 25 adult drivers admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days. 

 “Regardless of daylight saving time, there is definitely a problem with drowsy driving,” he said.

Find out more about AAA Michigan by visiting For the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, visit