Daylight Saving Time (DST) starts in the US on Sunday March 10 and in the UK on Sunday March 31. The good news is that the evenings will soon be lighter for longer. The bad news is that you lose an hour of sleep on the day we begin DST, and that can increase your risk of a collision.
Missing just one hour of sleep might seem trivial but a study by the University of Colorado Boulder revealed a 17% increase in traffic collisions on the Monday following the spring clock change, with road deaths higher than average for the remainder of the week.
Experts blame the sleep disruption for many of these collisions. And the National Safety Council (NSC) warns that employees who already have a higher risk of being drowsy might be even more tired than usual because of the clock change. This includes shift workers, workers over the age of 40 and transportation professionals.
Planning ahead for the start of DST will help to minimize the impact of the clock change. Here are eDriving’s five top tips to help you prepare:
- Go to bed about 10-15 minutes earlier every night for about a week before the start of DST.
- Adjust your clock to the new time earlier in the evening of the clock change so that you actually go to bed an hour earlier rather than going to bed at the usual time and missing out on sleep.
- If you cannot go to bed earlier, sleep for longer the next morning or have an afternoon nap on the Sunday (first day of DST).
- Avoid driving during peak times for fatigue-related collisions (2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., and in the afternoon between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.) following the clock change. Adjust your regular schedule if necessary for the first few days of DST.
- Avoid distractions. This is important on any journey, regardless of time of day or time of year. However, it’s crucial not to add any other risk factors into the mix at the start of DST when you’re already at greater risk of reduced concentration.
eDriving’s white paper, Awake at The Wheel: Why Lack of Sleep is not a Badge of Honor but a License to Kill includes information for both managers and drivers on how to prevent fatigue-related collisions. This includes the key features of a successful fatigue risk management program, fatigue risk factors and sleep disorders, how to educate and communicate with employees, trip scheduling and route planning to help minimize fatigue risks and using telematics data to help identify fatigue warning signs.