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ICBC urges B.C. drivers to prepare for Daylight Savings Time

March 5, 2014

As we get ready to move our clocks forward an hour this Saturday night for the start of Daylight Savings Time, ICBC is asking drivers to make an effort to adapt to the time change to help reduce the impact it could have on their driving skills.

According to an ICBC survey, 34 per cent of B.C. drivers admit that the time shift does affect them and make them feel less alert. Studies show that the switch to Daylight Savings Time can have a dramatic effect on disrupting our regular sleep cycle as it puts us out of sync with our circadian rhythm.

“The start of Daylight Savings Time is exciting as it signals that longer days are just around the corner, but it’s also important for us to prepare ourselves for the darker morning commutes we’ll face over the next few weeks,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “The time change can impact our concentration, alertness and ability to react to the unexpected while driving, so make sure you get some good rest this weekend.”

“As an avid cyclist, I know the impact that the time shift can cause, especially riding in the early morning hours,” said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “I would urge all drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be aware and take extra caution during the next few weeks while we adjust to the effects of Daylight Savings Time.”

“The change in our sleep cycle can cause unique dangers on our roads as some drivers may not realize that they’re more fatigued and less alert than usual,” said Dr. John Vavrik, a psychologist at ICBC. “Fatigue is especially dangerous when combined with distractions so it’s important that drivers limit any potential distractions behind the wheel.”

Here are ICBC’s tips to help you adjust to the time change:

  • Plan to get to bed early on Saturday evening and go to bed at your regular time on Sunday to be ready for the Monday commute.
  • Be aware of how your body adapts to the time change and how that may affect your ability to concentrate and avoid hazards. Studies have shown that time changes can have an impact on the quality of our sleep due to more nighttime restlessness. While you may feel fine, your circadian rhythm can still be significantly disrupted affecting your alertness while driving.
  • After many weeks of early sunrises, expect darker morning commutes and more vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians – on the road as the weather warms up.
  • Prepare your vehicle for the change in conditions and darker morning commutes. Clean your vehicle’s headlights and check that they are all working properly, both high and low beam and rear lights.

Media contact:
Adam Grossman