Fall back next weekend for Daylight Saving Time on Sat, Nov 4th, and be aware of the statistical increase in safety incidents. Every year during the end of daylight saving time there is an increase in traffic crashes. With increased darkness around rush hour time, and when traffic is at a peak, drivers, pedestrians and people on bicycles aren’t yet used to the decreased visibility and our internal clocks are thrown off by the change in lighting.
Visibility. Our fabulous fall fashion is darker than our summer brights and we’re wearing hats and scarves - while this should not matter what we wear when crossing with the right of way, it does matter when you throw in a few other factors and when we’re talking about kids on their way home from after school activities. Let’s be honest here - being visible can save your life regardless of where you are walking, who has the right of way or that orange is no longer the new black (but we hear yellow is rather vogue this season). The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee of New York pedestrian safety campaign SEE! BE SEEN! is on point for this time of year.
People on bikes - this is the PERFECT time of year to look at your bike reflectors and lights.New York law states a bike must be equipped with a headlight and taillight, front and rear reflectors, spoke reflectors and pedal reflectors to be used when riding at night. (Section 1236, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law).
Drivers, check your windshield fluid, make sure your windows and mirrors are clean- if that is all it takes to increase your ability to see someone, then its worth the 5 minutes. You know driving around neighborhoods before dinner there’s always tweens on bikes and skateboards - remember they are there, even if you don’t see them. Be ready.
If you call someone on their way home from work or school and they are in the car - get off the phone with them. Not after you ask what they want for dinner, but immediately.
Sleepy, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. November 4 - 11 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week for a reason. Just like with the Spring forward Daylight Saving time, we are thrown off for a week as our bodies adjust to the change in morning and evening light. Our internal clocks being off by waking and getting home when its dark, leaving us sluggish and sleepy. Be aware of this. Have a coffee in the afternoon.
Being aware of road user dangers during Daylight Saving Time in the Fall will make you and your loved ones safer.