The shorter days can have negative effects on the mind and body – and lead to an increase in driving accidents. Here are some safe driving tips to help you after the clocks change.
Step 1: Know the facts
The time change can affect both the quality of your sleep and your body’s internal clock. This can make you drowsy at the wheel – one of the leading causes of road fatalities nationwide. In fact, a recent study shows that there is an increase in the average number of collisions during the late afternoon commute in the two weeks following the end of daylight savings time, compared to the two weeks prior to that.1
Step 2: Prepare yourself for less daylight
How can you adjust your driving habits to compensate for the shorter daylight period?
Get enough rest
The time change throws off your body’s internal clock and can impact the quality of your sleep. Limit your exposure to light after bedtime and maximize exposure during the day to ensure a swift change of your internal clock. Never drive while overtired. The shift from drowsy to asleep at the wheel can happen more quickly than people think.
You may be feeling alert – but not everyone is. Be aware of people who drift between lanes or stop abruptly. Leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. Follow at a safe distance so you’re prepared to react under any situation. Remember, decreased visibility during darker afternoon commutes can affect your depth perception and peripheral vision, increasing the chances for a car accident.
Watch for pedestrians and cyclists
Approach all crosswalks and intersections slowly and check your mirrors for oncoming cyclists or pedestrians before making any turns. When visibility is reduced, people and objects on the road are harder to see. Adjust your speed to compensate for the low light conditions.
Step 3: Prepare your vehicle for darker driving conditions
- Ensure your headlights, windows, tail lights, signal lights, and windshield wipers are clean and in good working condition so you can see and be seen on the road.
- Top up on windshield wiper fluid and replace your wiper blades every six months.
- Take your car in for a tune-up. An oil change and vehicle inspection will ensure your car is reliable.
- For better traction and steering control, install winter tires. Check if winter tires are mandatory in your province.
- Keep your line of vision clear by brushing away all the snow from your car before driving and becoming familiar with the temperature and defrost settings.
- Before you pull out of the driveway, always make sure your headlights are on and all interior lights and onboard navigation devices are dimmed so the bright lights don't distract you.
The information provided is meant to be illustrative only and does not constitute or replace the advice of experts. The Personal assumes no liability with regards to how such information is used.