Daylight Saving Time and Driver Fatigue
Spring ahead this weekend as Daylight Saving Time begins for another year. However, watch out for a lack of spring in your step as you drive to work on Monday morning. The crash rate then is 23% higher than the crash rate of the preceding Monday according to the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation.
Is this due to sleep disturbance caused by the disruption of your normal sleep pattern because of the time change? Something must have happened, but a study by researchers of the RAND Corporation says that in the short run daylight saving time has no significant detrimental effect on automobile crashes. In fact, the long term effect shows a significant decrease in risk for vehicle occupants and pedestrians that coincides with the spring time change.
Fatigue, however it is caused, is a significant risk factor in BC collisions. The last report on collision statistics published by ICBC shows 395 injury and 16 fatal crashes attributed to falling asleep at the wheel. I suspect that the true numbers are probably higher than the report shows.
So, plan ahead for a good night of sleep on Sunday and use your defensive driving skills to advantage on Monday to keep yourself and everyone else safe. While you are at it, stick with the plan whenever you drive. If you are rested and alert you reduce your risk of causing a crash and being the victim in one.