As we spring ahead to brighter days Sunday, drivers are cautioned not to get caught asleep at the wheel.
Daylight Saving Time comes into effect at 2 a.m. Sunday for most communities in B.C. – as clocks are turned ahead one hour.
But that loss of one hour of sleep also means there will be some pretty drowsy drivers behind the wheel going to and from work Monday.
Driver fatigue is a dangerous condition where the symptoms of sleepiness can severely impair driving performance. Studies show that our circadian rhythms or body clocks, don’t adjust to time changes naturally. A tired driver is a dangerous driver, says the BCAA Road Safety Foundation.
Sleep deprivation impairs brain function as much as alcohol does, reducing the ability of the mind and body to respond quickly and accurately. This impairment can affect your driving ability long before you even notice you’re getting tired.
Symptoms of driver fatigue range from heavy eyelids, frequent yawning, and feeling irritable to misjudging traffic situations, being surprised by a pedestrian or cyclist and allowing your vehicle to wander or drift across the line.
Sleep-related collisions, hitting a pedestrian, rear-ending the vehicle in front of you, veering off of the road and into a parked car, are very common after a time change.
Sleep is what the body really needs to be able to function properly.
The BCAA Road Safety Foundation recommends drivers do the following:
– Adjust your sleep patterns before the time change.
– Avoid caffeine or other substances to “wake you up.” This is short term and you may feel even more fatigued once it wears off.
– For better visibility drive with your headlights on during the darker morning commute.
– Be aware of the increased number of people out walking in the evenings taking advantage of the extra daylight, especially in residential areas.