Adjust your clocks – and your driving – for Daylight Savings Time

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WEST HARTFORD-  Daylight Savings Time means you may be extra tired throughout the week as you adjust to the change but it also comes with more danger on the roads.

Studies have shown an increase in fatal accidents in the week after clocks are set forward, according to AAA.  Drowsy drivers are involved in an estimated 21 percent of fatal crashes.

AAA Manager of Public and Government Affairs Amy Parmenter believes it to be a result of the hour lost of sleep, combined with some early St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

“When it's going to be a little bit darker in the morning as people head out for work and head out for school, this is something that's a serious concern,” Parmenter said.

Parmenter said drowsy driving can be just as fatal as drunk driving or distracted driving.

“I think a lot of people think, an hour - that's no big deal,” Parmenter said. “When you can't adjust your entire family's schedule and then Monday morning comes, it can be a real problem.”

Nearly all drivers view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior, according to the 2015 AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index. That same study also found nearly 1-3 admit to driving drowsy.

“Any kind of change affects patterns of behavior and people aren't always conscious of how these things are going to affect their everyday actions,” West Hartford bicyclist Michael Fendrich said.

Now that you’ve adjusted your clocks, you may want to also change your driving habits to avoid getting sleepy behind the wheel.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study recommends you get more than eight hours of sleep. It found people who sleep 6-7 hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a serious crash and people sleeping less than five hours increased their risk 4-5 times.

More sunlight in the afternoon, means more people will be outside. Local bicyclists ask that you pay extra attention to their presence.

“Really scan the road, use your peripheral vision as much as possible, and if you feel like it's not a good time for you to be driving, don’t drive,” Fendrich said.