Daylight Saving Time – Be Wary of Other Drivers
Suddenly, it’s that time of year when we prepare to reset our clocks and attempt to adjust to a new time change. The good news is, in the Fall, we can all gain an extra hour of sleep.
However, not everybody takes advantage of this extra hour of sleep. For example, a survey in British Columbia found that 30% of people overcompensate for that extra hour by staying up later and losing any potential benefit of additional rest.
For drivers commuting to work in the mornings, the change in their sleeping patterns isn’t the only adjustment. They are also adjusting to ongoing seasonal changes.
A 2007 study by two researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that the Fall Daylight Saving Time switch has a significant impact on the number of pedestrians killed by vehicles. In the first few weeks after a time change, people walking in rush hour were three times more likely to be fatally struck by cars than before the time change.
According to the study, it wasn’t necessarily darkness that increased the number of deaths in Autumn, but rather that drivers and pedestrians have spent the previous months getting used to the lighter conditions, and do not immediately adjust their behaviour to account for less light during the rush hour.
To better prepare for these changes, here are a few tips:
• The change in your sleeping pattern throws off your internal clock. Take advantage of the extra hour of sleep by going to bed at the same time you normally would.
• Turn off your car’s interior lights and dim the light of your onboard navigation device so that bright lights don’t distract you.
• Prepare your vehicle for the change in weather: clean your vehicle’s headlights and make sure your rear lights are in good working condition. Fill up your windshield wiper fluid and double-check that your wipers are in good condition.
• Be aware of all drivers on the road – just because you’re wide awake and focused does not mean that other drivers are as well. Be aware of swaying between lanes and unexpected stops.
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