Motorist Alert: Daylight Savings Time Change Can Create Driving Risks

(LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2008) – This year, daylight-saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, the second year the time change occurs in March. The Automobile Club of Southern California recommends that during the first weeks of the time change motorists use additional caution, adjust their driving habits and watch for more children and others playing outdoors in the lighter evening hours.

Many more pedestrians, joggers, children, walkers and bicyclists will be outside running, riding and playing because of the longer daylight hours during the evening commute, according to the Auto Club. The Auto Club recommends that motorists drive slower and be extra alert, particularly in residential neighborhoods and school zones. This is especially important with pedestrian fatalities numbering 770 and pedestrian injuries reaching 14,472 statewide in 2005.

Drivers also should be prepared to face reduced visibility during the morning commute. “The morning drive to work or school will be darker so drivers can expect impaired visibility,” said Kathy Downing, the Auto Club’s Manager of Driver Services. “Drivers may need to turn on their headlights, if you begin your commute early in the morning hours, and then turn the headlights off when you reach your destination.”

Early morning sun may also cause reflections off car windows, hoods or other metallic portions of automobiles and can be a serious hazard, she added. “The glare may cause temporary blindness. To reduce glare, invest in and wear high-quality sunglasses and adjust your car’s sun visors as needed,” Downing said. “Late afternoon driving also presents a similar glare problem, so the same recommendations apply.”

In addition to adjusting their commuting habits for daylight-saving time, the Auto Club also recommends that drivers wear their seat belts and be sure that all passengers are buckled up. Small children should be secured safely in the backseats of vehicles.