Does Daylight Savings Time Create Driver Challenges?

Does Daylight Savings Time Create Driver Challenges?

Before You Answer, Sleep on It, Says AAA

UTICA – Happy Birthday Daylight Savings Time! You’re 100 years old as of 2 a.m. Sunday, and as federal law mandates, most states, including New York, will “spring ahead” an hour, a time change that may cause driving challenges for motorists who will lose an hour’s sleep. “As we spring forward, drivers should be aware the time change also means a change in driving habits,” says Ed Welsh, AAA Northeast Regional General Manager. For example, some commuters may suddenly find themselves driving into the rising or setting sun, depending on their direction; others may have difficulty staying awake since they’ll be rising an hour earlier.

In fact, research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue that what federal estimates previously thought and is a factor in 10% of crashes nationally. For some, adjusting to the time change may be difficult so drivers must be mindful of early morning driving habits and the presence of more children, pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists – the vulnerable roadway users – during peak travel times.

To help all roadway users be mindful of the time change, AAA Northeast offers the following tips:

For Motorists:

  • Adjust your sleep schedule several days before the time change by retiring an hour earlier in the evening
  • In the morning, watch for pedestrians when backing up in parking lots or driveways. Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible.
  • Increase your following distance between cars, especially when the sun is in your eyes; it may be difficult to see what the car in front of you is doing.
  • Watch for children and others who are outdoors longer in the evening.
  • Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks; don’t pass vehicles stopped in crosswalks.

Tips for Pedestrians:

  • Cross only at intersections or crosswalks; don’t jaywalk or cross between parked cars.
  • Avoid walking in traffic where they aren’t sidewalks or crosswalks. If you must walk on a road without sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • See and Be Seen. Carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing, if necessary.
  • Don’t walk and text. If you must use your cell phone, keep your eyes on traffic; listen for approaching danger.

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