NHTSA Warns Drivers of Risks Associated with Daylight Savings Time Change

Daylight Savings Time ended Sunday and with clocks turned back, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautions motorists and pedestrians to be more attentive to roadway risks.

In 2009, 4,092 pedestrians were killed and 59,000 were injured in traffic crashes. Of those killed, 25 percent died between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and another 13 percent between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. NHTSA warns drivers that adjusting to the new low-light environment can take time, and that driving while distracted puts everyone—and especially pedestrians—at greater risk of death or injury. The agency also notes the importance for pedestrians of carrying a flashlight or wearing reflective gear or to make sure they’re visible to drivers at greater distances. Here are additional pointers.

Motorists

  • Slow down. During 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.

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.

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