Time change impacts driving

ICBC is asking drivers to take extra care as clocks go back an hour Saturday

Turn your clocks back one hour Saturday evening.

Turn your clocks back one hour Saturday evening.

As we set our clocks back an hour Saturday night for the end of daylight savings time, ICBC is asking drivers to take extra care.

The biggest impacts can be felt on some of the key skills that affect the quality of our driving – poorer concentration, alertness behind the wheel and reaction time to potential hazards.

“There is a 10 per cent increase in the average number of crashes in the Lower Mainland during the late afternoon commute in the two weeks following the end of DST compared to the two weeks prior to the change,” said John Vavrik, a psychologist with ICBC.

“We see this crash rate increase slightly outside of the Lower Mainland, where road conditions can become more challenging earlier in the season.”

While the fall time change means we have the chance to get an extra hour of sleep, according to an ICBC survey, 30 per cent of drivers overcompensate for that extra hour of sleep by staying up later and therefore losing any potential benefit of that opportunity.

“We rationalize that extra hour – many of us think that since we’re going to get an additional hour of sleep we can stay awake longer or drive home later, but we actually end up feeling more tired and less alert,” said Vavrik.

“Studies have also shown that the end of daylight savings time can also impact the quality of our sleep due to more nighttime restlessness and disrupt our circadian rhythms which can pose some real dangers on our roads,” said Vavrik.

As daylight savings ends, B.C. drivers can also expect to deal with darker evening commutes in poor weather conditions with less visibility, which is why it’s important for us to adjust our speed to the road conditions.

Here are ICBC’s tips to help you adjust to the time change:

Keep your regular sleep/wake cycle in step with your every day social rhythm. Go to bed at the same time you normally would and benefit from that extra hour of sleep.

Don’t assume you are more rested and alert on the road the mornings following the change as the time change can impact the quality of our sleep.

Adjust your speed for the weather conditions and allow extra travel time so that you’re prepared especially for the darker, late afternoon commutes where there will be slower traffic flow, less visible pedestrians and cyclists and an even greater need to signal properly.

Clean your vehicle’s headlights and check they are all working properly, especially your rear lights. Make sure you have enough windshield wiper fluid and that your wipers are in good condition.