Everyone hates “spring forward”. Not only do we lose an hour of sleep, but also a precious hour of morning light at a time of year when we desperately need more vitamin D. But the loss of some morning rays isn’t the only change we experience; some claims about the ripple effects of daylight savings can border on the legendary. You can find reports about everything from an increased rate of heart attacks to more time spent surfing the Web during work hours in the days following daylight savings. One of the common impacts of daylight savings is an increased rate of traffic accidents. Some police departments report that the number of traffic-related accidents increase up to 10% in the first few days following daylight savings. Why is this?
Far from a coincidence, most of these strange occurrences are chalked down to the interruption in our sleep schedules. Although one short hour out of the day seems like small fry, it’s not necessarily the fewer hours of sleep but the rhythm of sleep that is thrown off. It turns out that subtle changes in an entire population’s circadian rhythms and sleep patterns can alter our alertness just enough to create low-scale chaos on the roads. Although “spring forward” leads to more traffic accidents, “fall back” is also guilty for causing similar effects despite the fact that we gain an hour of sleep as well as an hour of light in the morning.
What can I do to be more alert after daylight savings?
- Get more sleep. Even though it’s the circadian rhythm and sleep pattern that’s interrupted, people who generally sleep for 4-5 hours a night are more likely to cause a car crash than someone who has had a good 6-8 hour sleep.
- Be honest with yourself. If you notice that you’re drowsy and slow to react while driving, pull over to rest knowing that you are not the only one. Having the awareness to recognize when driving is dangerous can prevent a traffic accident at any time of the year.
- Keep an eye out for drowsy drivers. Since this is a phenomenon that effects everyone at the same time, keep an eye out for drivers who may be driving erratically, and drive defensively.
In light of a recent report, Ontario police are cracking down on dangerous driving during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. This is the first Thanksgiving since the Ontario government passed stiffer penalties for distracted driving, which include up to $1,000 in fines and three demerit points.
The report describes the main causes of traffic-related casualties between 2011 and 2015, and states that the great majority of the 1,507 deaths on the road Continue reading
The Move Over law was enacted across Canadian provinces in order to better protect emergency workers after they pull over on the shoulder of a road in response to a traffic collision or related emergency. Once emergency vehicles are stationary and the workers are outside their vehicles (this includes police, fire fighters, EMTs, paramedics, and tow truck drivers in Alberta), they are dangerously exposed to the traffic still driving by the scene. Continue reading
photo credit tc.gc.ca
As winter ends and Canada heats back up to a reasonable temperature, many Canadians flock to the water to bask in the often short-lived summer heat. There are tons of boating possibilities across the country’s numerous lakes, from renting a houseboat with friends, to fishing, to hopping in a neighbour’s motorboat for a ride.
This is a time to socialize and let the cares of the world drift away, a ritual that often includes a few cold drinks on a boat deck. It’s important to note that in Canada, operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a criminal offence. Continue reading
You are driving along and see those dreaded flashing police lights in your rearview mirror. Maybe you know why you’re being pulled over, and maybe you don’t. Regardless, panic sets in. What should you do? Here are a few tips to make an interaction with the police less tense and more successful.
You know the traffic jam. It’s the one where you’re sailing along the open road on a Sunday afternoon, when you suddenly encounter a long line of traffic shuddering along at 10km/hr. You slam on the brakes, as do all the drivers behind you, and then all of you inch along for a while before picking up speed again. There is no accident or construction in sight. There aren’t even any rain clouds! What the heck happened?
Car Horns. They give you a voice when you have something important to say, but you are inside a vehicle where no one except your dog can hear you. Horns should only be used in specific scenarios. Here is a short crash course on some helpful messages you can relay using your horn, as well as the unhelpful messages that at best, make you “one of those people” on the road, and at worst, compromise someone else’s safety. Continue reading
If you find yourself in a fender bender, whether or not it was your fault, what should you do next? Because of the nature of insurance and police reports, there are some things you should do at the sight of the collision, and some things you should avoid. Here are a few things to keep in mind, should you ever find yourself in this situation.
Distracted driving penalties in Alberta have risen in 2016. Last May, the fine for distracted driving was increased from $172 to $287, making it the most expensive fine in Western Canada. Although the change was substantial, lawmakers did not find it had much of an effect on the number of distracted driving occurrences. The average number of tickets issued per month is still around 600. Continue reading
The very first car-related fatality occurred in London in 1896. Since then, millions of people around the world have died on the road, for a variety of different reasons. Although statistics vary widely from place to place, some factors remain consistent worldwide. Here are six common causes of car accidents: