AAA cau­tions driv­ers af­ter time change

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS -

At 2 a.m., Sun­day, Nov. 5, Day­light Sav­ing Time ended and ev­ery­one turned their clocks back one hour.

AAA Mid-At­lantic and the Mid-At­lantic Foun­da­tion for Safety and Education are warn­ing mo­torists to be pre­pared for sun glare dur­ing their morn­ing com­mute and for re­duced vis­i­bil­ity on the road dur­ing their evening com­mute.

The time change can cause dis­turbed sleep pat­terns, and when com­bined with the ear­lier dusk and dark­ness dur­ing the evening com­mute, be­come a for­mula for drowsy driv­ing and fa­tigue-re­lated crashes — con­di­tions many driv­ers may be un­aware of dur­ing the time change.

When clocks “fall back” in au­tumn, drowsy driv­ing be­comes a sig­nif­i­cant threat to mo­torists, cau­tions AAA. That is be­cause their evening com­mute will now take place in dark­ness.

Penn­syl­va­nia saw 2,625 crashes and 25 fa­tal crashes, caused by drowsy driv­ers in 2016, ac­cord­ing to Pen­nDOT.

“While many will en­joy an ex­tra hour of sleep this week­end, few com­muters and mo­torists re­al­ize the added dan­gers that can come as the re­sult of a time change — es­pe­cially when they are be­hind the wheel,” said Jana L. Tid­well, man­ager of pub­lic and gov­ern­ment af­fairs for AAA Mid-At­lantic. “This one-hour shift in time dur­ing the fall not only cre­ates darker driv­ing con­di­tions, it can also dis­turb sleep pat­terns, per­haps even re­sult­ing in drowsy driv­ing episodes.”

Driv­ers who miss be­tween one to two hours of the rec­om­mended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour pe­riod nearly dou­ble their risk for a crash, ac­cord­ing to a De­cem­ber 2016 re­port from the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety. One in five fa­tal ac­ci­dents in the U.S. are the re­sult of drowsy driv­ing.

Sleep-de­prived driv­ers cause more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 de­bil­i­tat­ing in­juries on Amer­i­can road­ways each year, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Sleep Foun­da­tion.

AA Mid-At­lantic Tips for Driv­ers

• Slow down. • Turn on your head­lights to be­come more vis­i­ble dur­ing early morn­ing and evening hours.

• Keep ve­hi­cle head­lights and win­dows (inside and out) clean.

• Do not use high beams when other cars or pedes­tri­ans are around.

• Yield the right of way to pedes­tri­ans in cross­walks and do not pass ve­hi­cles stopped at cross­walks.

AAA Mid-At­lantic Tips for Pedes­tri­ans and Bi­cy­clists

• Cross only at in­ter­sec­tions. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jay­walk.

• Cross at the cor­ner — not in the mid­dle of the street or be­tween parked cars.

• Avoid walk­ing in traf­fic where there are no side­walks or cross­walks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have side­walks, walk fac­ing traf­fic.

• Eval­u­ate the dis­tance and speed of on­com­ing traf­fic be­fore you step out into the street.

• Wear bright col­ors or re­flec­tive cloth­ing if you are walk­ing or bik­ing near traf­fic at night. Carry a flash­light when walk­ing in the dark.

• Avoid lis­ten­ing to mu­sic or make sure it is at a low vol­ume so you can hear dan­ger ap­proach­ing.

• Bi­cy­cle lights are a ‘must have’ item for safe night rid­ing, es­pe­cially dur­ing the win­ter months when it gets dark ear­lier.

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