AAA provides driving tips as Daylight Saving Time ends

West Virginia

Image of a driver’s point of view. (Courtesy Photo: Getty Images)

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — With Daylight Saving Time ending this Sunday, AAA East Central is recommending motorists to prepare for potential problems associated with changes in sleep patterns, brighter morning commutes and darker evening commutes.

“While the extra hour of sleep may feel nice on Sunday morning, the time change can lead to greater risks behind the wheel,” said JJ Miller, safety advisor, AAA East Central. “The time change can affect concentration, attention and decision making, so motorists should take extra precautions in the weeks ahead to avoid putting pedestrians in harm’s way.”

Researchers at Standford University and Johns Hopkins University have found that the effects of the time change can affect motorists for up to two weeks. Disturbed sleep patterns can become a formula for fatigue-related crashes when they are combined with an earlier dusk.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that each year, sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries on American roadways. To help keep everyone safe during the time change, AAA East Central has provided safety tips for both motorists and pedestrians.

Tips for motorists:

  • Get plenty of sleep. – Symtoms of drowsy driving can inlcude; trouble keeping eyes open, drifting from lanes, or not remembering the last few miles driven
  • Watch for deer. – November and December are peak months for deer-vehicle collisions. Don’t forget – your clock has changed, but theirs has not.
  • Get some shades. – Wear high-quality sunglasses and adjust the car’s sun visors as needed to avoid glare in the morning.
  • Change driving habits. – Reduce speeds and increase following distances, especially in more populated areas.
  • Ditch the distractions. – This can include cell phones, infotainment systems, or clocks that need to be turned back an hour.
  • Use headlights. – This can make you more visible to pedestrians in the morning and evening.
  • Remember to yield. – Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. Also, don’t pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks. Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Tips for pedestrains:

  • Cross only at intersections or crosswalks. – Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.
  • Use the sidewalk. – If you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.
  • Dress brightly. – Wear bright or reflective clothing if you are walking or biking near traffic at night. Consider carrying a flashlight.
  • Avoid distracted walking. – This includes looking at your phone, wearing headphones, or listening to music.
  • Bike smartly. – Bicycle lights are a must-have item for safe night riding, especially during the winter months when it gets darker earlier.

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