When I was younger, I loved the end of Daylight Saving Time. I really relished that extra cozy hour in bed. 7AM band practice had just started and that is tough to get used to as a teen. Especially that year our band director told us we'd be starting at 6AM. "You'll already used to getting up then," he said. C'mon Mr. Johnson!
As an adult, I do still enjoy that extra cozy hour of sleep, but I'm also aware of the safety issues that arise around the bi-annual time change for most of the country. As safe drivers, it's important to be extra aware of our surroundings and others we share the road with for the next few weeks as we get used to the time change. Here are a few tips to help get you ready:
- Go to bed when you normally would so you can take advantage of that extra hour of sleep. Don't stay up late thinking that the time change will make up for it.
- Eat a good breakfast; it helps your body understand that it's the start of the day.
- Spend some time in well-lit rooms or outside. Your body reacts to light and this will help your internal clock adjust.
- Studies say that driver heart attacks go up when we "spring ahead", but when we "fall back", traffic accidents and pedestrian deaths increase, largely due to decreased light levels. Drivers, slow down and exercise more caution at pedestrian crossings and intersections. This is doubly true for school zones. And pedestrians, if you're not wearing reflective armbands or strips, this is a good time to start! Help drivers see you! Cyclists, this all applies to you too!
- If you find yourself getting drowsy on the commute, pull over and take a few minutes to refresh yourself! There's no substitute for getting a good night's sleep, but being mindful of your tiredness level will keep you and fellow drivers safe.
- Stay alert for other drivers who may be experiencing the ill effects of the time change. Watch for weaving between lanes or sudden stops.
So this weekend, enjoy that extra hour. But please stay safe and be extra alert on the roads!
Do you have any other tips for dealing with the time change? We'd love to hear them in the comments!
- Rose R.