Changing clocks means increased risks on the roads

 

This Sunday (March 14) marks the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST), meaning Ontarians will be losing an hour of sleep.

In addition to feeling groggy the next day, many residents can also expect an increased risk of collisions during the days following the time change.

"Over the years, we have seen an increase in the number of non-drivable vehicles--commonly referred to as write-offs--as a result of collisions," Kristina Pallas, national director of ADP Claims with RSA Canada, says in an interview with Insauga.com. "We're seeing an increase in the severity of collisions, and injuries are on the rise. We typically see an increase in the number of collisions immediately following DST by roughly 23 per cent."

However, according to a recent survey commissioned by RSA Canada and Gallagher Insurance, 37 per cent of GTA residents are unaware of these risks.

Additionally, those who are aware of the risks aren't taking extra precautions--only 42 per cent of GTA residents leave early to give themselves extra time to get where they need to go in the days following DST, and only 22 per cent change their method of transportation.

Further, while fatigues associated with the changing of the clocks is a factor in the increase of collisions in the spring, it's not the only one.

According to Pallas, increased congestion due to construction, more pedestrians and cyclists on the roads, and seasonal weather including heavy rains and sun glare all present driving hazards and impact road safety.

In order to mitigate these risks, Pallas encourages GTA residents to start planning for them well in advance.

"Start going to bed earlier the days leading up to it, leaving earlier the days following it to allow for extra time while commuting, and making alternate arrangements for transportation," she says. "When it comes to sun glare, drivers are encouraged to plan routes that don't require driving directly into the sunlight, as well as changing the times when they are driving."

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