Plenty of sleep deprived drivers will be making their way to work Monday morning, after losing an hour of sleep over the weekend due to the change to Daylight Saving Time.
They face a higher risk of being involved in a traffic collision because of that lost sleep. Studies out of the U.S. indicate a 6 per cent increase in fatal crashes through the first five work days after the time change.
“Anytime we change our clock, our internal clock a little bit, it can mess with us. [The] first thing I would like to advise is maybe try to adjust your clock a few days prior to that. So that when it does come to that time it doesn’t really hit you too, too hard,” recommends Josh Smythe with BCAA.
Research has found that fatigued drivers are more likely to take risks and forget or ignore normal checks or procedures. They’re less able to judge distance, speed, and time or respond quickly to critical driving information.
“Give yourself some extra space, a little bit of extra braking room. If you’re feeling a little bit off because of the time change, you can rest assured that the other people are feeling a little bit off too,” says Smythe. “As long as we as a collective are conscious of this and drive accordingly — slow down, extra space, room to brake — we’ll get there in time.”
Road Safety at Work, which is funded by WorkSafeBC, points out that for the thousands of people who drive for work in the Central Okanagan, fatigue adds to the challenge.
“Whether they drive full time, part time, or occasionally – such as to pick up supplies or call on a client – driving may be the most dangerous thing they do on the job. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic work-related fatalities in BC,” explains Trace Acres, program director for Road Safety at Work.
Vehicles used for work in BC are deemed workplaces. Employers are responsible for the safety of any employee who drives on the job. Workers who are too tired to drive safely have a legal responsibility to refuse unsafe work.
Road Safety at Work recommends people who drive on the job:
- Follow employer’s instructions for controlling the fatigue risks.
- Only drive when necessary, using alternatives such as virtual meetings, to eliminate the need to get behind the wheel.
- Know before you go by planning trips using DriveBC for road and weather reports.
Daylight Savings Time will take effect at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 12.