Turning Back the Clock Means Paying Extra Attention to Safe Driving
The end of daylight saving time means one less hour of daylight for the evening commute. It also means that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists need to start paying extra attention to their surroundings as evening approaches.
For many people, the time change means the commute home, or the evening walk, run or bike ride will take place at dusk or after dark. There are some very simple steps you can take to improve your safety in such conditions.
For drivers, make sure you turn on your vehicle's headlights once it starts getting dark. For walkers, runners and bike riders, carry a light and wear bright, preferably reflective clothing to make it easier for motorists to see you.
Other tips for drivers include:
- Protect your eyes from glare - allow them to adapt to darkness before driving, especially as you get older.
- Adjust the rearview mirror to the "night" setting to avoid headlight glare.
- Make sure your headlights and windshield (including the inside) are cleaned off and clear.
- Make sure your headlights are properly aimed as when pointing the wrong way they can blind others on the road and reduce your ability to see where you are going.
- If going east in the morning or west in the afternoon, allow extra travel time as you may be dealing with sun glare as it sets and rises.
- As dusk approaches, take off sunglasses.
- Slow down and leave more space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, especially on unlit or winding roads as the faster you go, the less reaction time you will have to avoid a collision with another vehicle, cyclist, pedestrian or animal.
- Be mindful that high beams can blind an approaching driver, cyclist or pedestrian, so quickly switch to low beams in that situation.
- If you are blinded by light from a vehicle coming from the opposite direction, look down and toward the right edge of the road.
- Pay extra attention to the possibility of pedestrians, cyclists and deer along the roadway.
For pedestrians and cyclists:
- Pedestrians should walk facing traffic so they see oncoming vehicles.
- Cyclists should travel in the same direction as other vehicles.
- In addition to wearing brightly-colored or even reflective or fluorescent clothing, put reflective strips on items you may be carrying.
- When crossing at a traffic signal, remember to look right and left and don't depend just on the light or a crosswalk signal.
- Avoid jaywalking and crossing a road between parked vehicles.