Daylight-saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 8, when most U.S. states will spring forward an hour. And with it come changes in when the sun rises and sets that may affect drivers. The Automobile Club of Southern California urges parents to make sure and instruct children playing outside later in the day to watch out for motorists. During the first weeks of the time change, drivers are advised to use extra caution and to be aware of increased numbers of children and others – like bicyclists, joggers and walkers – who are outdoors in the lighter evening hours.
Motorists should drive slower and be extra alert, especially in residential neighborhoods and school zones because more bicyclists, children, joggers, pedestrians, and walkers will be outside biking, playing, running, and walking because of longer daylight hours during the evening commute, according to the Auto Club.
Across the nation 726 cyclists’ deaths in 2012 accounted for 2 percent of traffic deaths with California leading the nation with 124 fatalities. Also in 2012, there were 80,743 pedestrian killed and injured in traffic crashes. The deaths represented a 6 percent increase from 2011. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in a crash, according to National Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics.
Of the 4,743 pedestrians killed in 2012, 884 were involved in hit-and-run crashes. Pedestrian fatalities were highest in California (612). In cities with a population of 500,000 or more, in 2012, Los Angeles had 99 and San Diego had 22. Children under age 15 accounted for 6 percent of pedestrian fatalities and 18 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes, according to NHTSA.
Drivers also can expect reduced visibility during the morning commute since the sunrise is not until after 7 a.m. in Los Angeles next week. “The early morning drive to work or school will be darker so drivers can expect impaired visibility,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, of the Auto Club’s Community Programs and Traffic Safety Dept. “Drivers may need to turn on their headlights, if you begin your commute in the early morning and then turn the headlights off when you reach your destination.”
As the morning sun is coming up, it may 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, wear high-quality sunglasses and adjust your car’s sun visors as needed,” said Lorz Villagrana. “Late afternoon driving also presents a similar glare problem, so the same recommendations apply.”