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Changing your clocks means changing your driving habits

Changing your clocks means changing your driving habits

In addition to raking leaves, one thing many of us can also look forward to this weekend is setting our clocks back one hour. And in addition to checking the batteries on your smoke detectors, the end of Daylight Saving Time should also mean a change in your safe driving habits.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds us that the seasonal combination of increasingly less sunlight and a return to Standard Time means that darkness falls at least an hour earlier.

Graphic of a clock amid fallen leaves

Sun glare and darkness will now occur during different parts of your familiar driving or walking routine. And since sleep patterns are also affected by seasonal changes, NHTSA 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.

What does that mean for drivers? The pedestrians you're used to seeing on your drive home from work will still be there, but they will be more difficult to see. During evening hours, you simply need more time and alertness to see nearby pedestrians.

So, please, as you adjust to the new visibility conditions, slow down and exercise greater caution.

For pedestrians, seasonal changes mean that you also need to be more careful. Take steps to make yourself more visible, and always give the traffic an extra look before crossing the street--even when the crosswalk signal indicates it's okay to proceed.

Infographic asking drivers and pedestrians to "See and Be Seen"

The folks at NHTSA have prepared more tips for motorists and pedestrians. We urge you to give them a look and share them with your loved ones:

Motorists

  • Slow down. During the evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
  • Don't drive distracted or impaired. Any behavior that slows your reaction time, increases the risk of a crash.
  • Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs 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

  • 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, and always use a crosswalk if available.
  • Watch out for cars at every driveway and intersection.
  • Stay completely focused on the road and avoid distractions like smartphones and tablets when walking.

As always, we wish everyone on our roads and our sidewalks safe travels.

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Comments

I understand the premise of why we did daylight savings time. My understanding was that Benjamin Franklin wanted DST to save on candles by getting up earlier in the winter. I believe it was also used to save fuel oil during WWI and standardized by the Uniform Time Act of 1966. But I don't understand why we still use it.

The falling leaves are beautiful, but on the highway they can be dangerous. The combination of loose leaves and rain can make the highway as slick as a skating rink.

Forget daylight savings - stop changing the clocks - problem solved!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US government has announced only last September, the global average for the period January to August 2010 is 580F (14. Although everyone thought that their city or world would cease to exist, that was not the actuality. Global warming is caused by burning hydrocarbons and depleting forests, not by the sun.

I too prefer not to change the clocks in the fall and remain on daylight saving time. but wouldn't that make it dark driving in the morning?