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'Dangerous for drivers': Daylight time ends, impacting driving conditions for Ontario motorists


Article re-printed from "DurhamRegion.com" November 6, 2023
"DurhamRegion.com" is hereby acknowledged for the content.


While an extra hour of sleep is always nice on a Sunday morning, millions of people are now having to adjust their internal clocks following the end of daylight time on Nov. 5.

With sunrise and sunset now occurring 60 minutes earlier, many of us will be driving to work at sunrise and driving home in darkness.

Toronto Police Service warn with the end of daylight time, road users will encounter reduced visibility due to shorter daytime hours.

In a news release, police said historically motor vehicle collisions rise in the month following daylight time, with police responding to an increase in pedestrian-involved collisions of more than 70 per cent.

Police said 32 people have been killed on Toronto roads so far this year, including 20 pedestrians.


Ralph Bouwmeester, principal at R. Bouwmeester & Associates, has assisted in the investigation of traffic collisions where sun glare or blinding is suspected as a contributing factor. Speaking anecdotally, he said the seasonal time changes in the spring and fall can lead to more collisions, due to the changing sun positions relative to the time of day.

“The sun isn’t where we’re used to it being on the way home from work,” he noted. “You drive down a certain highway or street and you take a certain corner, you’ve been doing it for ages and the sun has been fairly consistent for the last few weeks, and you know where to look out for it. And suddenly, it’s off by an hour and the sun can be in a spot where you just didn’t expect it to be.”

In some cases, drivers’ internal clocks may be out of whack and motorists may be sleepier following the time change, Bouwmeester noted.

“It’s that first hour of sun or the last hour of sun of the day that are the most dangerous for drivers and pedestrians too,” said Bouwmeester.

unexpected sun glare after time change

Photo by Ralph Bouwmeester

At all times, but especially when visibility is reduced during sunrise and sunset, Toronto police advise motorists, pedestrians and other road users to follow these safety tips:

• Remain vigilant of your surroundings and be aware of other road users.

• Use extra caution at crosswalks, and turning in signalized and non-signalized intersections.

• Drive within the speed limit and adjust according to the conditions.

• Ensure vehicles are in good working order and remember to activate the full lighting system.

• Plan ahead. Give extra time to travel to and from destinations.

It’s not just pedestrians and other drivers that motorists must contend with. Collisions with wildlife, most notably deer, are a key concern at this time of year.


The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority notes in a report that most deer collisions occur from October to December, during the morning hours of 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., or after sunset, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“These periods coincide with the heightened activity of deer during the autumn breeding season, the spring and fall migration periods, and the daily movement cycle during hours of darkness, and at dawn and dusk,” the report stated.

State Farm Insurance says drivers shouldn’t veer for deer. “If an animal-car crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don't veer off the road,” the insurance company said in a news release.


• Drivers should watch for “deer crossing” and other signs and exercise caution around wooded areas or water, where the animals may congregate.

• Use the high beam headlights, where appropriate. Flicking your high beams at a deer in the road may cause the animal to scurry away.

• Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the deer, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no other drivers behind you, brake hard.

• Watch for the herd. If you see one deer, there are likely more nearby.

• Don’t rely on a car-mounted deer whistle, as there’s no scientific evidence that shows these devices work.

Contact Info:

Ralph Bouwmeester, P. Eng.
R. Bouwmeester & Associates
Barrie, Ontario Canada
Phone: 1-705-726-3392

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