Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Motorists as Daylight Saving Time Ends

As darkness falls earlier, the potential for accidents increases

Pedestrian at night / Safety Tips as Daylight Saving Time Ends
Image: Pexels
November 07, 2017

As daylight saving time ends, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cautions motorists and pedestrians to be more alert as the potential for harm increases as darkness falls earlier.

NHTSA offers the following tips for motorist and pedestrian safety during the shorter days of autumn and winter:

For Motorists

  • Slow down. During the evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
  • Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
  • Keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean. Make sure your defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly and that washer fluid is replaced as needed.

For Pedestrians

  • Carry a flashlight or attach reflective materials – such as fluorescent tape – to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
  • Don't depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
  • Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. Crosswalks offer a safer alternative.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, face traffic.
  • When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars from the curb.
  • Do not cross the street if a car is coming and use a crosswalk if available.
  • Watch out for cars at every driveway and intersection.
  • Stay completely focused on the road and avoid distractions.

NHTSA also cautions that the time change could catch some drivers by surprise, with sun glare or darkness occurring during different parts of their familiar daily driving routine. Also, since sleep patterns are often affected by the clock adjustment, the agency warns drivers to be aware of their need for rest and the effects that a loss of sleep can have on driving attention and fatigue.

Additional information can be found in NHTSA's Safety 1n Numb3rs, an online monthly newsletter on hot topics in auto safety – including problem identification, people at risk, and recommended practices and solutions to mitigate injury and death on our nation's roadways.

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