MPI saw 20% spike in crashes after daylight time change in 2014

"Springing forward" to daylight saving time resulted in 20 per cent more crashes on Manitoba roads last year, according to the province's auto insurer.

Manitoba Public Insurance wants drivers to be fully rested and alert behind the wheel on Monday

Clocks in many parts of Canada, including Manitoba, move forward at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 8. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

"Springing forward" to daylight saving time resulted in 20 per cent more crashes on Manitoba roads last year, according to the province's auto insurer.

Manitoba Public Insurance says collision data from 2014 indicated a 20 per cent increase in the number of crashes on the day after the annual time change, compared to all other Mondays that year.

MPI says the data suggests that moving ahead by an hour early Sunday morning — and losing an hour of sleep as a result — may have an adverse effect on drivers.

"Last year there were 300 collisions reported on the Monday following the daylight savings time, and that's compared to an average of 248 for all the other Mondays in 2014," MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley told CBC News on Friday.

Clocks in most parts of Canada, including Manitoba, move forward on Sunday, March 8, at 2 a.m. local time, when clocks should be set ahead to 3 a.m.

Under the Official Time Act, daylight saving time begins on the second Sunday in March every year and continues until the first Sunday in November.

The most notable exception is the province next door: most of Saskatchewan uses central standard time year round.

Sleep experts say many people who make the change will feel a little sleep deprived and require two or three days to adjust to the time change, especially if they already have a sleep deficit.

Research has also shown an increase in the rate of heart attacks around daylight saving time in the spring, which has been linked to sleep deprivation.

Over the years, MPI has noticed more car crashes immediately after daylight saving time takes effect.

Smiley said for some reason, last year was particularly bad for crashes on the first Monday after the time change.

MPI is advising people to make sure they have enough sleep this weekend so they're fully rested and alert when they get behind the wheel on Monday.

"You want to make sure that you're properly rested on the Monday heading into work," Smiley said.

"You don't want to be a statistic and from our perspective we just want to, again, raise awareness about road safety."

MPI has three tips to make "springing forward" easier to handle:

  • Set your alarm to wake up a little earlier than usual on the Saturday and Sunday before the time change. This makes it easier to get out of bed on Monday morning.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning. Food also tells your body it is the start of the day.
  • Spend time in well-lit rooms — or outside in sunlight — to help your body clock properly adjust.

Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is encouraging residents to test their smoke alarms while changing their clocks.

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