Safety Reminders for the Start and End of Daylight Saving Time

We adjust our clocks each spring and fall to account for the start and end of Daylight Saving Time. We also need to be mindful of how it affects our “biological clock” during these periods, as these time changes can have implications for our safety and wellness. Who does well with losing an hour of sleep, after all! Some research, for example, has shown that vehicle accidents increase when Daylight Saving Time begins.

Similarly, for many people, the switch back to standard time in the Fall means an abrupt shift to commuting home at the end of the workday in darkness, when road traffic is at its peak. Drivers haven’t had time to adjust to decreased visibility. Nor have pedestrians, who according to studies are much more likely to be struck by cars in the days following the time switch. Other studies suggest that, in addition to decreased visibility, driving in the dark can make us drowsier.

Here are some things to keep in mind during time changes:

  • Plan ahead to get adequate sleep time.
  • Be aware of how the time change might affect you.
  • Be extra alert and cautious while driving.

The start and end of Daylight Saving Time can also serve as good reminders of other safety tips. For example, use the occasion of setting your clocks back as a cue to:

  • Check the batteries in your home smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Ensure they are working properly and replace old batteries.
  • Check your fire extinguishers. The small gauge at the top should tell you if it’s OK or needs to be recharged or replaced.
  • Prepare a winter emergency kit for your vehicle. It can be very useful if you find yourself stuck on the road in a storm. Some items to include: blanket, flashlight, batteries, water, non-perishable snacks, shovel, reflective hazard triangle, warm clothes and gloves.