Clocks back, safety forward

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 5, daylight savings will come to an end for 2017, signalling the start of a new season. Turning the clock back is often hailed for the additional hour of glorious shuteye it offers. With sleep deprivation being a common condition in our society, it’s easy to understand why.

What’s the problem?

Studies demonstrate that the switch is not all lullabies and sweet dreams. The end of daylight savings time – bringing with it increased darkness during peak traffic hours—also presents a greater risk to drivers and pedestrians.

It’s not necessarily the dark that is the issue, say researchers. It’s that we’ve become so accustomed to lighter conditions and, at the start of each fall season, we forget to adjust our behaviour accordingly.

Safety tips behind the wheel

To ensure you stay safe when daylight savings ends this November, follow these rules:

  1. During the evening or early morning hours, slow down. At a slower pace, you’re more likely to see people and pets crossing in front of you.
  2. Your sight is severely compromised by dirty windshields and windows, so be sure to keep them clean.
  3. With colder temperatures on the way, make sure you defrost your windshield, ensure that your your wipers are working properly (replace them if required) and you have enough winshield washer fluid should you need it.
  4. Say goodbye to those long ‘n lazy summer nights. It’s all about nighttime driving now. Check those headlights (and all of lights in your car, for that matter), to make sure they’re working properly.
  5. Keep those (working) headlights on when heading out in the early morning and late afternoon onward.
  6. Did you know that November is the most common month for collisions involving deer? Keep a watchful eye out for deer and other animals who are known to be more active at dusk and nighttime, particularly during the few weeks after daylight savings ends, but throughout the fall and winter as well.
  7. The changing of the clocks signifies the coming of the cold. Be sure your car is ready by bringing it in for a seasonal tune-up.
  8. Install your snow tires. The end of daylight savings is the perfect time to get ready for the first snowfall, coming soon to a road near you!

As we fall back (time-wise) and approach the winter season, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your safety – and the safety of those around you. Following these tips will ensure you remain proactive and mindful of the dangers that come with the darker and colder months ahead.

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