October and November: A Dangerous Time to Drive
There have been many studies done on when it is most dangerous to drive. Some studies look at when the most auto accident fatalities occur and others look into when it is most dangerous for teens to be on the road. The data gets sliced and diced many ways with differing results depending on what drivers are included in the data, or even on what part of the country is studied.
For XL Catlin Construction clients, the most likely time to be involved in an automobile crash is October. A 2017 data review showed that 11.5% of all Auto claims for XL Catlin insured contractors resulted from incidents that occurred in October. The second most claims come from incidents that occurred in November, representing 9%.
So what it is about October and November that make automobile crashes more likely? It’s hard to know for sure, but there are a few things to consider:
Sunrises get later and later each day and sunsets come earlier each day. We lose nearly an hour of daylight over the month of October. This leads to more on-the-job driving during twilight and darkness as the month goes on.
In early November, most of us switch back to Standard Time from Daylight Savings time. While that gives us a chance at an extra hour of sleep for one day, it suddenly moves sunset a full hour earlier in the day with no opportunity for us to adapt.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition driven by a lack of exposure to sunlight and it affects as much as 20% of the population to some degree. It results in reduced alertness and some level of impaired decision making in those who suffer from it. For those it affects in the Northern Hemisphere, it usually kicks in during the month of October.
What can we do about it?
Awareness: For starters, we can let our driving employees know that they’re approaching the most dangerous time of year for on-the-job driving. Sometimes just awareness of a hazard gives us an opportunity to make better decisions.
Review Schedules: Daily schedules for activities that require driving can be reviewed. If it’s possible to shift driving tasks to later or earlier in the day to avoid dawn/twilight and night driving, it is wise to do so.
SAD Support: Talk with your employees and let them know that if they’re affected by SAD, there are simple, effective treatments like light therapy and vitamin supplements that have proven to work for most sufferers. Their doctor can help them find the best solution.
Defensive Driving Training: Lastly, if you’re thinking about doing defensive driver training for your workforce, this is the time of year when it could prove most beneficial. Your XL Catlin Construction Risk Engineer can help you find an effective driver training solution.
For more information about this and other emerging construction risks, talk with your XL Catlin Construction Risk Engineer.
About the Author
Fred A. LeSage, CRIS, is Senior Construction Risk Engineering Consultant for XL Catlin’s North America Construction team. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org