This weekend we set our clocks back an hour to end Daylight Savings time. According to the AAA Northeast, their statistics show that car accidents drastically increase around this time of the year. This could be due to darker driving times with shorter days and earlier sunsets. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians should beware.
This week drivers must adjust to the changes of daylight when driving and keep alert of these changes. Pedestrians and cyclists are most at risk for injuries when the roads go dark. Preparing for these changes this week and throughout the fall and winter months can help keep people on our Connecticut roads safe. Here are some steps to help reduce life-threatening accidents on our roads.
Be Prepared For Shorter Days & Dark Roads
Setting clocks back an hour to end Daylight Savings time can be a shock to motorists who are not used to driving in the dark, both during morning and evening commutes. The sun in Connecticut will now set closer to 4:45 pm, putting millions of drivers on dark roads during their daily commute to and from work.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, driving in the dark is noticeably more dangerous than driving during the day. Motorists are three times more likely to get into a car accident at night, with the most deadly hours occurring between 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
Nighttime driving can significantly affect the critical functions a driver needs to operate their vehicle safely, including visibility, depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision. Motorists can help combat the onset of nighttime driving hazards by taking the following precautions before they get behind the wheel:
- Keep all windows, mirrors, and windshields clean.
- Remove debris such as leaves, snow, or frost.
- Use low beams in foggy conditions and high beams when appropriate.
- Clean off headlights and aiming them correctly on the road.
- Wear night time glasses if necessary to reduce the glare of oncoming cars.
With normal headlights, drivers on average are only able to see 250 feet ahead in the dark. Keep your speeds low for more control over your vehicle and the chance of reacting quicker to road hazards.
Be Aware of Driver Fatigue
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, when drivers have less than five hours have a crash risk comparable to a drunk driver. Data shows missing just one to two hours of sleep in 24 hours nearly doubles your crash risk. In addition, three in ten Americans admitted to driving when they were too tired to keep their eyes open at least once in the past month. Fatigued driving is extremely dangerous to both drivers and others sharing the road. Drowsy drivers are known for swerving, drifting, becoming distracted, or making risky decisions; all behaviors known for leading to accidents.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, at least 60 percent of adults report they often drive tired, and another 37 percent admit to falling asleep being the wheel – don’t be a statistic. Make sure to get enough sleep this week to make up for the hour time difference. If you feel too tired to drive, pull over in a safe location, and take a rest. Also, avoid driving later or earlier than usual until you have adjusted.
Keep Your Eye Out for Pedestrians and Cyclists!
Although it is colder out and it may be dark, pedestrians and cyclists are still on the road. Between children waiting for the bus, pedestrians walking home from work, and cyclists out enjoying a ride, all drivers will need to stay on high alert.
Speeding, failure to yield, and left-handed turns are the leading causes of pedestrian road accidents, and darker roads only escalate these risks. Pedestrians and cyclists can reduce their chances of becoming the victim of an accident by staying visible and alert to cars at all times. These basic safety steps can help get you started:
- Wear reflective gear and bring a flashlight when walking.
- Always look before crossing the road.
- Use sidewalks when available or walk on the grass.
- Avoid jaywalking or crossing between crosswalks.
- Never assume a driver sees you coming.
- Watch closely at driveways and intersections.
- Avoid distractions such as loud music, cell phones, or conversations.
Avoid Distractions & Aggressive Driving
Distracted and aggressive driving are deadly habits on the road, especially at night. Drivers already have less time to spot hazards on the road. Adding in factors such as speed, risky lane changes, or distractions will almost always result in an accident turning fatal.
These are the dangerous road behaviors Connecticut drivers should be avoiding to prevent causing harm to others:
- Changing lanes without a signal
- Swerving in and out of traffic
- Not sharing the roads
- Honking your horn
- Making hand gestures at other drivers
- Hard braking
- Fast and sharp turns
Our team at Jacobs & Wallace wishes everyone a safe start to the end of Daylight Savings. Bottom line, stay alert, pay attention, and follow the rules of the road to prevent accidents.
Connecticut Car, Motorcycle and Trucking Accident Attorneys
The time change is no excuse to behave poorly behind the wheel. Vehicle accidents caused by reckless driving are unacceptable. If you or a loved has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact our winning legal team at Jacobs & Wallace for a free consultation to explore your options.