March 2021

Yes, that means this weekend we’re set to lose an hour of sleep as the clocks go forwards an hour and we officially mark the beginning of British Summer Time!

I’m sure we’ll all welcome the extra hour of light in the evenings, once we’ve recovered from our sleep deprivation.

It’s also a time we need to take extra care on the roads, at least for the next few days. Incredibly there’s a 17% increase in traffic collisions on the Monday after the clocks spring forwards, and road deaths remain higher than average for the rest of the week.

A lot of this has to do with the impact this hour less sleep has on our reaction times, but there will also be a sudden change in light conditions for routine journeys that were otherwise very familiar. A low sun in the sky can make it much harder to see clearly, for example.

There are a few top tips on the eDriving website:

  • Adjust your clock to the new time earlier in the evening of the clock change so that you actually go to bed an hour earlier rather than going to bed at the usual time and missing out on sleep.
  • If you cannot go to bed earlier, sleep for longer the next morning or have an afternoon nap on the Sunday if possible (first day of DST).
  • Avoid driving during peak times for fatigue-related collisions (2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., and in the afternoon between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.) following the clock change. If necessary adjust your regular schedule for the first few days of DST.
  • Avoid distractions. This is important on any journey, regardless of time of day or time of year. However, it’s crucial not to add extra risk factors into the mix at the start of DST when you’re already at greater risk of reduced concentration.
One of the key points to remember is that it’s not necessarily going to be you that is fault. ‘Hell is other people’, as they say, which means that you could be the safest, most cautious driver in the whole of Oxfordshire and still come undone by another driver who didn’t get a good night’s sleep.