Humans are creatures of habit and routine. In many ways, this is a good thing. The fact that we can automatize many behaviors saves brain power and allows us to shift focus to other thoughts or activities as needed.
The downside to this skill, however, is that unexpected changes in routine can really throw us for a loop. Your daily commute to and from work is a good example. You may have already noticed this week that your drive home occurred in the dark or while the sun was going down. This was because daylight savings time came to an end and we all set our clocks back by one hour. This sudden change is more than just an annoyance. According to safety experts, it could actually increase your risk of being involved in a car or pedestrian accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that it usually takes drivers several weeks to adjust to the changes that come with just a one-hour time shift. The evening commute could be especially dangerous because people are driving home with less daylight while children may be walking home from school under the same conditions. Visibility is reduced, which means that everyone needs to be more attentive and cautious when walking, biking or driving.
Until you adjust to the time shift and the corresponding change in daylight, please do your part to make sure that you can see and be seen by others on the road. Although your commute may be a comfortable routine, it is especially important to pay careful attention to your surroundings at this time of year.
Source: TurnTo23.com, “NHTSA says it takes motorists several weeks to adjust to time change,” Mark Christian, Nov. 5, 2014