Spring forward safely while on the road
The start of Daylight Savings Time (DST) is fast-approaching for many parts of Canada. While the prospect of warmer weather and more sunshine in the evening is exciting, the day after our clocks move forward has historically been correlated to an increase in the number of traffic collisions.
The road safety issue at a glance
The increase in road injuries and fatalities often seen during DST as a result of slower response time and fatigue adds to the already alarming rate of dangerous traffic incidents on our streets each and every day across the country. This is especially true in places like the GTA where the battle for space on the streets between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians can get heated.
Despite this sad trend, many Canadians are still unaware of their risks, and unsure how to best protect themselves.
A recent TruceTO survey, commissioned in partnership with Gallagher Insurance, found that 40 per cent of Canadians are unaware of the risks on the road the day after DST begins (37 per cent of respondents in the GTA).
Canadians also have mixed views on how they can best protect themselves:
- Only 34 per cent of Canadians give themselves extra time to get where they are going in the few days after clocks spring forward;
- Less than 15 per cent of Canadians shift their transportation habits in the few days after DST begins to mitigate risk (14 per cent).
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease across the country, a majority of road users plan to return to their regular transportation habits (63 per cent). The re-opening of economies brings with it added traffic volume and risk of road safety incidents.
Spring road hazards add to road risk
For GTA residents, the survey also found several springtime road hazards that cause them concern as the seasons begin to change after DST:
- Glare from the sun (31 per cent)
- Construction-related congestion (31 per cent)
- Car traffic-related congestion (31 per cent)
- More pedestrians and cyclists on the road causing congestion (30 per cent)
- Other road users who are fatigued after DST begins (29 per cent)
- Heavy rain (25 per cent)
How RSA Canada and Gallagher Insurance are working together to improve road safety
There is important road safety advocacy work underway in various municipalities – Vision Zero 2.0 in Toronto is a good example of this, however design and infrastructure take time and money. In the short term, we need a solution that aims to help reduce these alarming collision rates quickly – and that begins with behaviour change.
Our TruceTO partnership with Gallagher Insurance aims to help fill the education gap and reduce collisions by offering tips for better protection against road injuries and fatalities with the onset of DST. Together, we advocate for empathy among road users and a commitment to improving road use habits and behaviours.
Here are some helpful tips to better share the street:
- Test your street smarts and learn how you can be a better road sharer here.
- Educate yourself on road safety by joining the movement that started in Toronto. You will find a number of helpful resources here.
- Stay calm on the road. Whether you’re driving, cycling or walking, patience and space will go a long way in protecting yourself and others on the road.
- Take the time change in stride. We know when DST is happening, so in the days leading up to and after it, you can:
- Go to bed earlier
- Plan to give yourself more time to get out of the house
- Change your transportation method (e.g. use public transit)
- Sun glare can be particularly apparent during morning and afternoon commutes for drivers and cyclists alike. Map out an alternate route with roads that are quieter, offers some shade and better visibility for drivers.
- Don’t overlook regular maintenance. Keep your bike or vehicle in tip top shape by wiping down the chain after each ride and lubricating your bike for good performance or making sure your dashboard wipers are working.
- For drivers, start slowing down sooner as you reach a light or cross walk and maintain a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you (greater than the two second rule).
- Depth perception and visibility can be compromised especially when driving in the rain. Allow more time to travel during spring showers.
- Distracted walking is just as dangerous as distracted driving. Refrain from using cell phones and headphones when crossing the street.