With daylight saving time ending Sunday, November 5 at 2:00 a.m., Americans will “fall back” and set their clocks back one hour to standard time. While many motorists will enjoy an extra hour of sleep, they need to be aware of the time change and potential distractions to their normal routine. There are added dangers that can come with a time change, especially behind the wheel.
An earlier sunset and darkness can lead to an increase in the number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured by vehicles. Therefore, drivers, pedestrians, joggers, walkers, and bicyclists will need to use safety measures so they are seen on the roads. AAA advises motorists and pedestrians to be cautious and stay safe.
- Always watch out for pedestrians when backing up in parking lots or driveways. Use headlights to be visible.
- Leave more following room. In the morning, when the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. Use sunglasses and your sun visor.
- Be mindful of children and others who are outdoors in the afternoon and evening as it gets dark earlier.
- Pay attention and eliminate all distractions including cell phones and car clocks that are off by an hour.
- Scan the road for wild animals, mainly deer. There were 36,743 animal-related crashes in New York in 2022 – up 7% from 2021 – that’s equivalent to one animal-related crash every 15 minutes, often outside of daylight hours.
- Be visible. This is especially important in dark places or poor weather. Remember to stay in well-lit areas and to wear light or reflective clothing. Never assume drivers see you just because you see them.
- Use sidewalks and pathways. If a sidewalk is not available, stay to the far side of the road and always face traffic.
- With 50% of crashes occurring at night, drivers should check their headlights for signs of deterioration and invest in new headlights or, at a minimum, try a low-cost headlight cleaning and restoration to boost the safety of driving after dark. Headlights can show signs of deterioration after three years but most commonly by year five.
- AAA suggests drivers check their headlights for changes in appearance such as yellowing or clouding. If the bulb is difficult to see, it is time to have the lens replaced or restored as soon as possible. Replacement and restoration services are available at most repair shops, including AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.
- Moving clocks back one hour means it will be darker in the late afternoon. It is important to remember that children will be on their way home from school during this time, so drivers must remain vigilant.
- Slow Down. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 25 mph is nearly two-thirds less likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling just 10 mph faster.
Check for Vehicle Recalls
- NHTSA makes checking vehicles for safety recalls easier with their SaferCar free smartphone app alerting drivers of recall notices and more.
Daylight saving time begins on March 10, 2024. The Sunshine Protection Act that passed the Senate in March 2022 was not approved by the House of Representatives, so the effort to eliminate clock changes has been stalled for now.
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