The dangers of driving after daylight savings time
The clocks spring forward this weekend, at least in most of the country. That means we can look forward more hours of sunlight during the daytime. But daylight savings time also has a drawback. Less sleep.
Losing an hour of sleep may not seem like a big deal, but it can make a big difference. Especially if you are getting behind the wheel.
Less sleep can make people dangerously drowsy—increasing the chances of being in a serious collision. In fact, there’s spike in car accidents both at the beginning and end of daylight savings time. Several studies also show that for the first week after the change to daylight saving, there is about a 6 to 7 per cent increase in fatalities
Not getting enough sleep can decrease alertness, cause lapses in attention, and lead to mistakes in judgment. According to the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, drowsiness factors into 21 per cent of car accidents in Canada. About 500 Canadians lose their lives and 2,100 people are seriously injured each year in collisions caused, at least in part, by driver fatigue.
Driving fatigued can lead to rail tragedies
Reacting a fraction of a second faster or slower can be the difference between a near miss and serious incident—especially when driving near or across railway tracks.
In December 2015, a Metrolink commuter train in California derailed
, injuring 32 passengers and crew, and killing the train’s engineer. The incident happened when a tired truck driver—who had gone without sleep for 24 hours—mistakenly turned onto the tracks at a railway crossing.
Remember that driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Enjoy the extra hour of sunshine that comes with the start of daylight savings time. But if you are feeling the effects of less sleep, don’t get behind the wheel.