Daylight Saving Time drives concerns for UDOT

Posted at 6:08 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 20:08:14-05

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As we get ready to spring forward into Daylight Saving Time, the Utah Department of Transportation warns of the hazards the hour time lapse can have on Utah roadways.

This Sunday, March 11, at 2 a.m. we will carry out a concept that has been around since the late 1800s.

Yet according to John Gleason with UDOT, “It seems every year we get taken by surprise by Daylight Saving.”

For some Utahns filling up their tanks at the local Maverik gas station, the change is not that big of a deal.

“I always get up at like five in the morning anyway, an hour of sleep's not a big deal,” said one man.

“It doesn’t really bother me,” said another.

The trend continued, “I’m an early morning guy anyway, so it doesn’t matter.”

Or simply scoffing it off, one Utahn said: “I’ll just get used to it.”

But, according to UDOT, that one hour can make a world of difference.

“It’s going to be harder to see and there’s going to be more tired people on the road and walking to school,” Gleason said.

The department said the reality is the mornings get darker, people get drowsier, and the roads get more dangerous.

“Pedestrian fatalities have increased over the last few years. We’ve seen an increase of about 25 percent and that’s a major concern for us,” Gleason said. “So we’re trying to do anything that we can to shine a spot light on pedestrian safety,” he added.

While not much can be done about how dark it is, UDOT said there are a few ways drivers can make sure they are more alert.

You can readjust your internal body clock by, “going to bed 15 minutes early, 20 minutes early, each night so that it’s not such a shock to your body,” Gleason advised.

“You may also want to get out this weekend and do some high energy activities that can tire you out to make it easier to go to bed maybe a little bit earlier,” he added.

Between the low-visibility and the change in your sleep schedule, UDOT said it’s also crucial that you drop the distractions when you’re behind the wheel.

If all else fails, “give yourself maybe a little extra time, slow down if you need to, and, yeah, maybe a little extra coffee on Monday morning,” Gleason laughed.