Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 2 a.m. Remember to turn your clocks back an hour before going to bed.
The end of Daylight Saving Time in the fall is a time of year that many people look forward to; after all, an extra hour of sleep is a hard thing not to like. However, this one-hour change may have some negative effects when it comes to road safety.
It’s easy to assume that with one additional hour of sleep, drivers will be more alert but various studies claim the opposite. When our sleeping schedules are interrupted, it can affect our health, and make us more accident prone. For example, a U.S. study of fatal car crash data showed a notable increase in traffic accidents when time shifts both in the spring and fall.
Driving in the dark can be hazardous
During the spring and summer months, people generally get up and return home while the roads and highways are brighter, and hazards are easier to see. When drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians have spent the past eight months commuting in a well-lit setting, it may be hard to adjust and compensate for less light and poor weather conditions.
As we fall back and head toward winter, follow these tips to reduce accidents after the clocks change:
- Keep your regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time you normally would so you can benefit from that extra hour of sleep.
- Do some light exercises in the morning to wake up your body.
- Enjoy your morning cup of coffee but don’t over-caffeinate. Hydrate with water or juice and have a healthy breakfast.
- Before you pull out of the driveway, clean your headlights, brake, and signal lights.
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you want to go.
- Approach all crosswalks, intersections, and transit stops with caution as it will be harder to see pedestrians and cyclists who may also be drowsy.
- Heed the speed limits, drive defensively, and drive according to the weather conditions.
- Maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles so you’re prepared to react in any situation.
Preparing your vehicle
With winter around the corner, it's also a good idea to take care of your vehicle's maintenance and be prepared for the upcoming change in the weather:
- Top up on winter windshield wiper fluid and replace your wiper blades. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
- Replenish your car safety kit with winter items like blankets and heat packets. If you don’t have one already, you can buy or make your own car kit.
- Take your car in for a tune-up and oil change before the winter weather hits.
- Get winter tires. Winter tires provide your car with more traction and handle freezing temperatures better than all-seasons; they help you keep control of the car and stop effectively. Additionally, many car insurance companies offer a discount for using winter tires, so you can save on your premiums and stay safe on winter roads at the same time.
- Rolling back the clock may sound like a great opportunity to stay up later, however, the time change can impact the quality of your sleep and affect your body’s internal clock. Whether you’re walking, cycling, or driving, take advantage of the extra hour, sleep well, and be alert on the road as the days get shorter.
Has your auto insurance rate changed?
Car insurance rates often change and the provider who offered you the best premium last year may no longer offer you the best deal on car insurance this year. Make sure you’re not overpaying for your car insurance and compare rates to get the coverage you need at the price you can afford.
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