Spring Forward Time Change and Effects on Driving

The "spring forward" time change refers to the adjustment of clocks forward by one hour during the spring season, typically in March. This change is part of daylight saving time (DST), a practice adopted by many countries to make better use of daylight during the longer days of spring and summer.

When the clocks move forward, it results in more daylight in the evenings but also means one hour less of daylight in the mornings. Young Drivers of Canada (www.yd.com) would like to point out that it can significantly affect our lives, including driving in several ways:

  1. Changes in Visibility: With the clocks moving forward, sunrise and sunset times also shift. This adjustment can affect visibility during morning and evening commutes. Drivers may experience different lighting conditions, which could impact their ability to see pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles on the road.
  2. Fatigue and Alertness: Losing an hour of sleep due to the time change can lead to increased fatigue and decreased alertness, especially during the first few days after the change. Fatigue impairs reaction times and decision-making abilities, which are crucial for safe driving. Drivers should be mindful of their own alertness levels and take breaks if necessary.
  3. Increased Risk of Collisions: Studies have shown a temporary increase in the number of collisions following the spring time change. The disruption to sleep patterns and the resulting fatigue contribute to this uptick in crashes. Drivers should exercise extra caution during this period and be aware of the potential for increased risk on the roads.
  4. Adjustment Period: It may take some time for drivers to adjust to the new schedule and the shift in daylight hours. During this adjustment period, drivers should be particularly vigilant and allow extra time for their journeys to account for any potential disruptions or delays.
  5. Pedestrian and Cyclist Awareness: As daylight hours extend into the evening, there may be an increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists out on the roads later in the day. Drivers should be mindful of this and remain vigilant for vulnerable road users, especially during the twilight hours when visibility may be reduced.

Overall, while the spring time change can initially disrupt driving routines and increase the risk of collisions, being aware of these factors and taking appropriate precautions can help mitigate any adverse effects on road safety. 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.