Hello Darkness My Old Friend!

Spring forward, fall back.  We are approaching that time of year again where we turn our clocks back an hour and reclaim the hour that we lost in the spring as we return to Eastern Standard Time in Ontario.  By operating on Eastern Standard Time, we will gain an additional hour of daylight in the morning, but will also experience sunset and darkness an hour earlier in the late afternoon/evening.

How Is Daylight Saving Time Affecting Your Safety?

The twice annual time change was originally instated during wartime, in order to take advantage of the longest amount of natural daylight in the most economical way.  The tradition continues, in spite of the consequences that modern day life has brought to the situation.

According to an article in Driving.ca, during the past decade, motor vehicle accidents have increased in the days following the autumn time change.  According to the Ministry of Transportation, for the past decade, and on a yearly-average basis, personal injury collisions have risen by 19 per cent.  The most critical period of the day for accidents is between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm. when the time change is most noticeable.  Darkness occurs earlier than we have been experiencing during the summer months.

Drivers will be used to commuting during daylight hours as they had been doing all summer.  All of a sudden, this changes, and drivers will have to deal with an earlier sunset, reduced visibility, worsened if rain makes the slick pavement reflect the now-switched-on street lights causing shadows and poor visibility.

Longer distances for stopping in rain and poor weather conditions will require drivers to maintain a safe following distance and be aware of situations where the brakes may have to be applied suddenly.

It may take a few days for drivers to become acclimatized to the new situations and adjust their reaction time and summer driving habits.

Safety Tips For Pedestrians

As a pedestrian, it is crucial to adapt to the conditions as well.  Be aware of the potential issues the early darkness may bring.  Pay attention to your surroundings, carefully scan traffic before stepping out onto the road.

Try to make eye contact with drivers when crossing at intersections.  Approach all crosswalks, intersections, and transit stops with caution as you may be harder to see.

Consider not wearing all black clothing, but wear something that will make you visible to drivers. Also, proper footwear for the weather conditions is important to reduce your risk of slipping on wet surfaces or fallen leaves.

To minimize the risk of personal injury incidents, give the situation your full attention, do not wear headphones or be distracted by your cellphone when you are walking near traffic.

Let’s make this upcoming season a safe one. Contact our dedicated team of therapists if you are experiencing any chronic pain or have suffered an injury.

We are here to help!

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