CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) – Thursday marks the start of fall, meaning that days are getting shorter and it’s getting dark earlier.

As of Sept. 22, the sun sets around 7 p.m. in West Virginia, and by the end of October, it will set around 6:30. After Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 6, it’ll start to get dark before 5:30 p.m. By the shortest day of the year in December, it’ll be getting dark just after 5 p.m.

The Reedsville Volunteer Fire Department is reminding especially women that they should take additional precautions with earlier sunsets.

  1. Make sure to fill up your gas tank before sunset.
  2. Check your tires and oil often.
  3. Keep an extra charger with you at all times.
  4. If you are able, sign up for a roadside assistance program like AAA, just in case.
  5. Don’t go to outdoor ATMs after dark.
  6. Park in well-lit areas whenever possible.
  7. Only unlock your car if you are immediately getting out of/into your vehicle. If you need to return your shopping cart, lock your car. If you need to run inside to grab something real quick, lock your car.
  8. Pay attention to your surroundings. It’s nice to wear your headphones on your evening walk, but this can make you a target. “Heads up, phones down.”

Although women are more likely to feel uneasy or experience a threat while walking alone or at night, the Reedsville Fire Department included that people of all genders and ages should be on alert. “This can go for everyone. Teens, men, elderly. Be safe,” said the department’s Facebook post.