FRANKFORT, Ky. – With the end of daylight saving time this weekend, motorists will be presented with challenges during their commutes that could impact pedestrian safety. AAA East Central and the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) recommend motorists and pedestrians make changes in their daily habits to adjust to reduced visibility caused by sun glare in the morning, and earlier darkness in the evening.
“While the extra hour of sleep may be nice, the time change can be deadly for pedestrians,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs, AAA East Central. “Twilight is one of the most challenging times of the day to drive, so extra precautions can go a long way in the weeks ahead.”
The end of daylight saving time change can also cause disturbed sleep patterns for motorists, and when combined with the earlier dusk, they can become a formula for drowsy driving and fatigue-related crashes. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has revealed that because it is more difficult to detect following a crash, drowsy driving incidents are nearly eight times more common than federal estimates indicate. Moreover, researchers at Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University have found that the effects of the time change on motorists have been shown to last up to two weeks following the time change.
“With an increase in deer movement and lower visibility this time of the year, it’s critical to drive alert whenever you’re behind the wheel,” said KOHS Acting Director Jason Siwula. “Driving drowsy is an underrated risk with serious consequences.”
Tips for motorists:
• Get plenty of rest. Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping your eyes open, drifting from lanes, or not remembering the last few miles driven.
• Get some shades. Wear high-quality sunglasses and adjust the car’s sun visors as needed to avoid glare in the morning.
• Change driving habits. Reduce speeds and increase following distances, especially in more populated areas.
• Ditch the distractions. This can include cell phones, infotainment systems, or clocks that need to be turned back an hour.
• Use the headlights. This can make you more visible to pedestrians in the morning and evening. Don’t forget, even though the time changed, many will stick to their normal habits of walking home or exercising in the later hours.
• Remember to yield. Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. Also, don’t pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks. Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Tips for pedestrians:
• Cross only at intersections or crosswalks. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.
• Use the sidewalk. If you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
• Dress brightly. Wear bright or reflective clothing if you are walking or biking near traffic at night. Consider carrying a flashlight.
• Avoid distracted walking. This includes looking at your phone, wearing headphones, or listening to music.
• Bike smartly. Bicycle lights are a must-have item for safe night riding, especially during the winter months when it gets darker earlier.