Fall signifies the end of daylight saving, a time where many look forward to resetting their clocks. After all, an extra hour of sleep is often a hard thing to come by. However, this one-hour change will have a negative impact when it comes to road safety. On November 3rd, our clocks will go back one hour meaning our days become shorter which can have a negative effect on body and mind. Studies have shown that there is a growing correlation between driving accidents and turning the clocks back. The end of daylight saving time will increase driver fatigue. Therefore, it is imperative to remain extra vigilant during this time.
Winston Churchill had an extremely optimistic view of daylight saving, jesting:
“An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn.”
However, in reality, most people cannot take advantage of the extra hour of sleep as it takes time for their biological clock to reset. There is a large focus on gaining an hour of sleep but this supersedes the bigger picture. Each body adheres to a circadian rhythm, which is a natural and internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle every 24 hours. This is often called our body clock. Changing our sleep-wake cycles by an hour affects our body clock. Light is a key regulator and when there is less light (night-time) the brain produces more melatonin, which makes us drowsy. On the surface, changing our clocks back one hour seems a meaningless tradition. However, its effect on our circadian rhythm means it disturbs our sleep, metabolism, mood, bodily functions and productivity.
The introduction of longer nights can induce drowsy driving. A 2007 road safety survey from the Government of Canada estimated that 60% of drivers have gotten behind the wheel when feeling drowsy. Furthermore, the same study revealed that 15% of respondents had also fallen asleep at the wheel.
Don’t underestimate the impact of driving whilst tired
Driving whilst fatigued is often overshadowed by other forms of impaired driving such as drinking and texting. However, driving whilst tired can certainly be just as harmful. There is no test to determine how tired someone is which leads to many of us taking to the roads when perhaps we shouldn’t.
For all road users it is important to remember that just because you may be feeling alert, this doesn’t mean everyone around you is.
Vehicle preparation requires more than adjusting your clock. Make sure all the lights on your vehicle are clean and in good working condition so that you can see and be seen on the road. Checking all your vehicle’s fluid levels and applying winter tires are two other precautions you can take at this time of year.
We’re here to help you in every way we can
Injuries can change a person’s life forever. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to consult a professional for legal advice. Here at Sicotte Guilbault, we do more than fight for your rights. We aim to build a strong relationship with our clients and understand the full impact a motor vehicle accident has on their lives. This could include insurance claims, at-fault driver claims, but also work related benefits, mortgage insurance, benefits under critical illness and Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits.