Car crash rates up on Monday after clocks change: MPI

Winnipeg drivers may want to exercise extra caution while on the road Monday.

Manitoba Public Insurance says crashes up 6% in day after clocks spring forward

Manitoba Public Insurance says the rate of car crashes increases by six per cent on the Monday after the clocks spring forward for daylight saving time. Health experts say lack of sleep could be to blame. CBC's Jillian Taylor reports. 1:37

Winnipeg drivers may want to exercise extra caution while on the road Monday.

Manitoba Public Insurance spokesperson Brian Smiley said statistics show crashes increase the Monday after daylight saving time.

Clocks sprang forward one hour Sunday morning, and Smiley said in the past five years, there has been a six per cent increase in crashes on the Monday after the time changed.

"By Monday people would be recovered in terms of their sleep and sleep patterns, but the numbers show that there is an increase of six per cent of collisions on this Monday," said Smiley.

University of Manitoba student Artur Kroitor said he was among those Winnipeggers who hadn’t quite adjusted on Monday.

"It’s completely dark [in the morning], completely demotivating. I didn’t want to do anything, and now I’m depressed," said Kroitor.

Dr. Diana McMillan, a professor at the U of M and an expert on sleep and sleep deprivation, said Kroitor’s not alone in feeling the effects of the time change.

She said people typically lose about 40 minutes of sleep when the time changes in the spring and that’s enough to throw off routines and cause trouble behind the wheel.

It can affect "our vigilance, for example, how we react in terms of our motor function," she said.

McMillan said not only are cognitive skills affected but so is behaviour.

"It’s one thing to have one person be running a little late, but with everybody in the city running a little late, it certainly can contribute even more to why the roads are a lot riskier today," she said.

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.

She said the change is especially hard because Canadians are a sleep-deprived society.

"We push the envelope. We don’t make sleep a priority. We should," said McMillan.