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Driving in Spain

How the Clock Change Affects Driving

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This weekend, the clocks are once again set to change, as Daylight Saving Time ends, and the clocks subsequently put back one hour.

However, although this change in time might seem insignificant, it can cause an imbalance in our body which in turn can cause fatigue, sleep or distractions that can have an impact on road safety.

One of the biggest changes the body will experience during the change is that whilst the pace of life remains the same, the hours we have become accustomed to will change. If our alarm clocks are set for 08:00, the reality is that we are waking at what our body has got used to which is an hour different. The same obviously applies at the end of the day when we go to bed.

Medically, it is known that the change in time can also lead to an increase in the chance of suffering migraines or stress related conditions as a result of the change. These episodes can cause a distraction in their own right and can lead to incapacity at times, but some medications can also cause problems for drivers, so always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are feeling symptomatic or taking any kind of medication, especially, but not exclusively, if the box displays a warning sign of a triangle with a pictogram of a car inside.

Sleep experts say that the best way of overcoming the problems the body identifies is to maintain a stable sleep and meal pattern, making sure you get a good 8 hours sleep per night, and avoiding stimulants such as caffeine.

Sleep deprivation and drowsiness is a known contributing factor in many road related incidents. In fact, drowsiness is the primary cause in 30% of all daytime collisions and incidents. More than 40% of all incidents on the roads are closely related to fatigue, closely related to sleep, and almost 20% of these incidents involve commercial vehicles.

Reaction times are increased when sleepy, and a person can suffer severe reductions in concentration, motor and sensory delays, resulting in mistakes in movements and decisions, as well as perceptual disturbances.

Drivers who are normally at risk of sleep related incidents include shift workers, young people, those with sleep-related illnesses and whilst driving under the influence of alcohol and / or drugs.

With that knowledge in mind, it might actually surprise you that most sleep related incidents occur on a weekday, Monday to Friday, between 08:00 and 20:00, and more often during routine drives, as well as on long-haul journeys.

It is important that we all monitor our own feelings, stopping for a rest if we are starting to feel tired, regularly on long journeys, sharing the driving and being prepared to respond to our own body´s warnings in good time.

Whilst taking these facts into consideration, one final thing to remember is to change the clock in your car to reflect the change in time, after all, as well as the microwave, there is always one clock somewhere we forget!

The post How the Clock Change Affects Driving first appeared on N332.es – Driving In Spain.

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