Be Alert As Daylight Saving Time Ends: NHTSA

Motorists should slow down and pedestrians be more aware as America has “fallen back” over the weekend, according to the DOT agency.

Daylight Saving Time 2013's end on Nov. 3, with most of the nation's clocks turned back one hour, means drivers and pedestrians should be extra careful for now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautioned. More of us are driving home from work in darkness as the calendar turns to winter.

NHTSA offered these safety tips for the season:

Motorists should:

  • 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 ear muffs 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 should:

  • 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. Use a crosswalk if available.
  • Watch out for cars at every driveway and intersection.
  • Stay completely focused on the road and avoid distractions.

NHTSA warned the clock adjustment "could catch some drivers by surprise -- with sun glare or darkness occurring during different parts of their familiar driving routine. Also since sleep patterns are affected, 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."

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