This past weekend, Halloween partygoers breathed a sigh of relief as they were able to get an extra hour of sleep – or an extra hour of partying – thanks to Daylight Savings ending early on Sunday.
That’s not the most impactful change, however. With the end of Daylight Savings comes an earlier sunset – and night-time arriving an hour earlier than you’re used to. This means your driving situation in the afternoons and evenings can change drastically.
Blinded by the (Sun)Light
For some of you, your commute home may now be interrupted by a huge luminous ball of gas emanating blinding light in your face. Driving against the sunset can be an incredibly unsafe practice, with a number of things impeding your vision: the sun, sun glare, and your sun visor.
Your Drive Home is now a Night Drive
Your commute home may now be a night drive, which can be more dangerous than driving during the day. Your visibility may be low, and depth-perception may be affected due to darkness. Add slow, blinding traffic into the mix, and your drive home will require considerably more caution than it did before.
An Early Night Means an Early Bedtime
When you get off work or school and are driving home, you’re now actually doing so an hour later than you’re used to – and an hour closer to your previous bedtime. In the few days immediately following this time change, it can be difficult to adjust your sleep cycle accordingly. For the first couple of weeks, keep in mind that you may start to get immediately drowsy as your body adjusts to the fact that you’re going to bed an hour earlier than before.
Tips to Deal with Daylight Savings
Stay prepared for any of these scenarios by following these helpful tips:
- Wait out the sun – night driving may be less safe than day driving, but it’s still not as bad as driving with the sun squarely in your face.
- Check your lights – ensure your headlights, tail-lights, and brake lights are working properly so other drivers and pedestrians can spot you on the road. It’s an easy, inexpensive fix you can do in five-ten minutes, so there’s no excuse.
- If you’re falling asleep, pull over – according to the CDC, drowsiness and impairment after being awake for about 18 hours is comparable to someone who has a BAC of 0.05%, enough to make most people noticeably buzzed. If your eyelids are heavy and you find yourself yawning frequently, pull over and take a quick power nap. Not only will you feel more refreshed, but the traffic you’re stuck in might have cleared up a bit.
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians – cars have all kinds of lights to keep them noticeable on the road, but in dark neighborhoods, people walking across the street can seem invisible. Slow down in surface streets and be sure to stay vigilant for anybody that may be walking, biking, or otherwise near the streets.
The end of Daylight Savings can be a rough transition for everyone, but there are ways to make it less of a pain to you – and to others on the road.