Belgian Summer Time: beware of accidents

The Vias, the Belgian traffic safety institute, has issued a warning in connection with the danger of road accidents triggered by the introduction of Belgian Summer Time. All week now there is a heightened risk of road accidents often caused by tiredness.

During the week following the transition to BST a rise in the number of road accidents is recorded. Drivers who have not had enough sleep are slower to respond and are more likely to have an accident. Vias's Stef Willems: "People have slept an hour less and consequently feel more tired."

The Vias isn't in favour of the abolition of summer time. In the short term there are more accidents, but in the long term the opposite is the case.

Not everybody shares this view. Johan Verbraecken, sleep expert at Antwerp University, points to the increase in heart attacks in the days after the switch and especially on the day of the switch. Johan Verbraecken believes winter time most closely reflects our natural biorhythm. After the switch we get less sunlight in the morning and that impacts on our biorhythm too.