Stay Alert Behind The Wheel After Time Change

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Daylight-saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday 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 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 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, running, playing and walking because of the longer daylight hours during the evening commute, according to the Auto Club.  Children under age 15 accounted for 16.5 percent of pedestrian victims and 13.7 percent of bicycle victims (victims killed and injured) in California traffic collisions in 2011.

 

Drivers also should be prepared to face 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.” 

 

In addition to adjusting their commuting habits for daylight-saving time, the Auto Club also recommends that drivers wear their safety belts and be sure that all passengers are buckled up.  Small children under age 13 should be secured safely in the backseats of vehicles.