Clocks Forward, Recalls Checked: Daylight Saving Time Starts Sunday

It seems like spring will never come, but the approach of daylight saving time signals it's getting close. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also wants the time we change our clocks to signify the time we check for open vehicle recalls.

Related: Video: How to Find Your Vehicle Identification Number

Most Americans will set their clocks forward this coming Sunday morning, as well as check their smoke-detector batteries, but NHTSA is reminding the public to also use this transition time to check vehicles for open recalls as part of the administration's Safe Cars Save Lives Check for Recalls campaign.

Through its website, you can use the agency's vehicle identification number lookup tool to see if your car is under a recall. You can also sign up at NHTSA.gov/Alerts to be notified by email if your vehicle is affected by a future recall.

To find your vehicle's VIN, look on your registration card, the driver-side doorjamb or the driver-side dashboard near the windshield. Snap a photo of it with your phone to make referencing it easier.
According to NHTSA, in 2017, 813 new vehicle safety recalls affected more than 30 million vehicles in the U.S., and many go unrepaired. In fact, NHTSA reports that every year, on average, 25 percent of recalled vehicles are left unrepaired, putting millions of motorists in harm's way.

"Be sure that you are keeping yourself and your family safe, check your vehicle for important safety recalls today," Heidi King, NHTSA deputy administrator, said in a statement. "Did you know that you don't have to pay to fix safety recalls? Please visit NHTSA.gov/recalls to find out if your car or truck has an outstanding recall, and call your dealership for your free repair."

While daylight saving time gives us some extra time with the sun each day, it also robs us of an hour's sleep on the day it happens — and when your sleep schedule is thrown off, that can cause a safety hazard behind the wheel. Only about a third of U.S. drivers get the recommended amount of sleep each night as it is, so losing yet another hour moves them even deeper into the danger zone.

A recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that the percentage of traffic crashes involving drowsy drivers is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates indicating that fatigue accounts for only 1 or 2 percent of such collisions. So watch yourself this weekend for signs of drowsy driving, and get tips for how to avoid trouble here.

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