What do residents of greater Vancouver have to look forward to this fall? The beautiful foliage, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and a slew of other fun fall celebrations. But like any other season, fall has its own driving risks, related to daylight saving time and slippery roads.
Be prepared for daylight saving time
On Sunday, November 3, we'll be setting our clocks back an hour - so how could that make for a drowsy commute on Monday morning?
Many drivers, especially those who already don't get enough sleep, will have a difficult time adjusting to the time change. The effects of daylight saving time on our circadian rhythm can last for days after and are similar to the effects of jet lag.
Our circadian rhythm is our body's natural clock that regulates when we feel tired and awake. Factors such as our sleep cycles and daylight hours have a profound influence on our circadian rhythm.
According to an article in Medical Xpress, daylight savings is often linked to higher rates of traffic crashes. That's because, while drivers adjust to the time change, they experience increased drowsiness, poor concentration, and stress.
According to Helmut Zarbl, director of the Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, adjusting to the changes of daylight savings will take about a week. He suggests doing the following:
- Adjusting sleeping and eating schedules to become accustomed to the changes
- Avoid consuming caffeine or other stimulants while adjusting
Shorter days may mean more time driving in the dark
The days are already getting shorter, but once daylight savings arrives, you will likely be commuting home from work in the dark. Fewer daylight hours doesn't only impact your sleep cycle, it can create visibility challenges.
According to the National Safety Council, drivers only have 250 feet of forward visibility when using normal headlights and 500 feet with high-beams. Limited visibility means less time to react to avoid a collision, especially when speed, impairment, or distraction is a factor.
Drivers ages 50 and older need twice as much light at night as those 30 years old or younger. That's because vision complications associated with cataracts and degenerative eye diseases are more common in older drivers.
In addition to limited visibility, the glare from other drivers' headlights can be nearly blinding at night, especially if you're driving on a rural road with no street lights.
Watch out for slick road surfaces
Many roadways in the greater Vancouver area will be covered in wet, fallen leaves as fall progresses.
Driving on wet leaves can be just as dangerous as driving on ice, especially when temperatures dip below freezing. That's because wet leaves can reduce a car's traction, making it more likely for drivers to lose control or skid. Fallen leaves also cover crucial lane markings and potholes.
While we're less likely to receive snow this time of year, it still happens. Snow often comes as a shock to drivers who aren't yet prepared for winter conditions. In addition, black ice poses a risk to Vancouver drivers who travel during the early morning hours when temperatures drop below 32 degrees.
If the actions of a negligent driver caused your crash this fall season, speak to an experienced Vancouver car accident attorney as soon as possible. The Scott Law Firm, PLLC has the legal knowledge and courtroom experience to help you build a solid legal claim and get results. To find out how we can help you, contact us online today and schedule your free initial consultation.