Now that daylight saving time has ended, our evening commutes will be much darker -- and this means we need to me more vigilant on the roads.
In British Columbia the Insurance Bureau of British Columbia (ICBC) has reported a general increase in the average number of collisions during the late afternoon commute in the two weeks following the end of daylight saving time, compared to the two weeks prior to the change. Additionally, a study by Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania has found that pedestrians in general are three times more likely to be hit by a motor vehicle in the first weeks after the fall time-change than in the weeks prior.
It's hard to dispute the findings of that study; after all, we aren't used to dealing with darkness at 4:30 or 5:00pm! Additionally, because our autumns in the GTA are often rainy, this can also mean wet and dark conditions, i.e. perfectly dangerous driving conditions.
Here are some tips from Carranza LLP to help you drive safely after the end of daylight saving time:
- Before you leave, clean your headlights & brake/signal lights by removing any leaves or frost and snow;
- Give yourself plenty of time to get where you want to go, and set your phone’s driving instructions or your navigation assistant before you leave;
- Approach all crosswalks and intersections with extra caution, as it will be more difficult to see pedestrians and cyclists for those first few weeks;
- Be on the lookout for children, especially in school zones (no matter what time of day!), and for wildlife in rural areas;
- Drive according to the speed limit and the weather conditions;
- Maintain a safe following distance so you’re prepared to react to any situation that may arise;
- With winter around the corner, it’s also a good idea to take care of the maintenance that’s needed to weather the upcoming change in season, such as winter tires, a car safety kit including winter items (like blankets), and replacing windshield wiper fluid and blades, if needed.