Sleep and Rhythms Projects

Driving simulator performance worsens after the Spring transition to Daylight Saving Time

Orsini F, Zarantonello L, Costa R, Rossi R, Montagnese S


Circadian desynchrony and sleep deprivation related to the Spring transition to Daylight Saving Time (DST) have been associated with several unfavorable outcomes, including an increase in road traffic accidents. As previous work has mainly focused on analyzing historical crash/hospitalization data, there is virtually no literature investigating the effects of DST on specific driving performance indicators. Here, the effect of the Spring transition to DST on driving performance was investigated by means of a driving simulator experiment, in which participants completed two trials (one week distance, same time and day of the week) on exactly the same simulated route, the second trial taking place in the week after the transition to DST. Results were compared to those of a control group (who also underwent two trials, both before the DST transition), and documented significant worsening of driving performance after DST, as measured by a comprehensive set of simulator-derived indices.

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