Staying safe on the road as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend, which means drivers need to prepare for changes related to their commutes next week.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 we “fall back” one hour.

AAA Oklahoma is warning drivers to be prepared for sun glare during their morning commute and for reduced visibility on the road during the evening commute.

“Ninety percent of drivers’ reaction time is dependent upon their vision, which is severely limited at night,” said Leslie Gamble, Public and Government Affairs manager. “Motorists should focus on night driving safety measures the moment the sun sets. It’s one of the most challenging times to drive because motorist’s eyes are frequently adjusting to the increasing darkness.”

Drivers are recommended to wearing high-quality sunglasses and adjust the car’s sun visors as needed. Late afternoon driving will present a similar glare problem.

The time change can also disturb your sleep pattern, creating a formula for drowsy driving and fatigue-related crashes.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries on American roadways each year.

“While many will enjoy an extra hour of sleep this weekend, few commuters and motorists realize the added dangers that can come as the result of a time change – especially when they are behind the wheel,” said Gamble. “Although we gain an hour of sleep, our sleep patterns are disrupted. This can result in drowsy driving episodes and it is unsafe to drive when we are feeling sleepy.”

Here are some tips to help you on the road during the time change:

  • Slow down.
  • Turn on your headlights to become more visible during early morning and evening hours.
  • Keep vehicle headlights and windows (inside and out) clean.
  • Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around.
  • Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.

There are also tips pedestrians and bicyclists can follow to stay safe.

  • Cross only at intersections.  Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk.
  • Cross at the corner – not in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
  • Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking or biking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
  • Avoid listening to music or make sure it is at a low volume so you can hear danger approaching.
  • Bicycle lights are a ‘must-have’ item for safe night riding, especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier.
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