It's always a bit of a thrill to get that extra hour of sleep in the fall when the clocks turn back…but I'm always really bitter in the spring when the clock jumps ahead.
Unfortunately, shifting the clock doesn't simply lead to my personal disgruntlement; losing that hour of sleep can mess with the human body, which can in turn make driving the day after "springing forward" a dicey situation. I
n fact, according to a study done at McMaster University entitled "Sleep Deficit, Fatal Accidents and the Spring Shift to Daylight Savings Time", traffic accidents increased by 17% on the Monday after Daylight Savings Time (compared to an average Monday).
Disrupting our circadian rhythms can lead to slower reflexes and poorer decision-making ability - not great when you're commuting. So what can you do about it? Well, you can't control the other drivers on the road, but here are a few tips to help you stay alert after DST this weekend.
Go to bed early all weekend. Start going to bed early on the Friday and Saturday before Daylight Savings Time kicks in - it will help your body adjust sooner.
Telecommute. If you have the option to telecommute, the Monday after Daylight Savings Time is the time to do it. Enjoy a little more sleep and avoid potentially sleepy drivers going to and from the office.
Acknowledge that your body is out of whack and take a little extra time. Take a moment when you get into the car to really focus on the route you're about to take.
Cut down on in-car distractions. Consider leaving the music off and if you're a coffee drinker, enjoy that java before you leave the house or after you get to work - no sipping on the road!