AAA cautions drivers after time change
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.