Fall Back Time Change and Effects on Driving

Twice a year, most of the world's population experiences the effects of time change as we switch between Daylight Saving Time (DST) and Standard Time. In the fall, we "fall back," turning our clocks back by one hour. While this may seem minor, Young Drivers of Canada (www.yd.com) would like to point out that it can significantly affect our lives, including driving.

The Fall Back time change typically occurs on the first Sunday in November, and it has several implications for driving that drivers need to be aware of:

1.    Reduced Daylight: One of the most immediate effects of falling back is reduced available daylight. As the days get shorter, drivers will commute in darker conditions. This can lead to reduced visibility, making it more challenging to spot pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles on the road. In response, drivers should ensure their headlights, taillights, and brake lights are in working order and use them appropriately, especially during the evening commute.

2.    Increased Glare: The sun's angle and intensity can be particularly blinding during the morning and evening hours, causing glare that can affect a driver's ability to see the road. This glare can be exacerbated by wet roads, making it even more critical for drivers to use sun visors, polarized sunglasses, or other anti-glare measures to improve visibility.

3.    Fatigue: The time change can disrupt our sleep patterns and circadian rhythms, potentially leading to increased fatigue. Sleep-deprived drivers are more likely to experience impaired reaction times and decreased attention. To mitigate this, it's important to prioritize getting enough rest, especially in the days leading up to and following the time change. Additionally, if you feel drowsy while driving, pull over in a safe location to rest or switch drivers if possible.

4.    Changes in Wildlife Behavior: Wildlife, such as deer and other nocturnal animals, are more active during the early morning and late evening hours. With the time change, there's an increased risk of encountering these animals on the road. Drivers should be particularly cautious in areas prone to wildlife crossings and stay alert for any unexpected movement on the road.

5.    Weather Changes: The fall season often changes weather conditions, such as rain, fog, and frost, making driving more hazardous. Reduced daylight and wet road surfaces can make it difficult to see road markings and signs, increasing the risk of collisions. Drivers must adjust their speed to match the road conditions and maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front.

6.    Adapting to the Time Change: To mitigate the effects of falling back, drivers need to adapt their routines gradually, suggests Young Drivers of Canada. This includes adjusting their sleep schedule in the days leading up to the time change, as well as being mindful of their alertness while driving during the dark hours. Planning, leaving for appointments or work a bit earlier, and being patient on the road can all help ease the transition.

In conclusion, the fallback time change can have a significant impact on driving conditions, requiring drivers to be more cautious and attentive on the road. Increased darkness, glare, fatigue, changes in wildlife behaviour, and varying weather conditions all contribute to the challenges drivers face during this time. Staying informed and taking proactive measures to ensure safety, such as checking vehicle lights and adjusting driving habits, can help mitigate the effects and make the transition smoother for everyone on the road.