Daylight-saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 12, 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 instruct children playing outside later in the day to watch out for motorists.
Also, motorists should driver slower and should be extra alert, especially in neighborhoods and school zones because more bicyclists, children, joggers, pedestrians and walkers will be outside on or near streets in the longer evening daylight hours, according to the Auto Club.
Across the nation, pedestrian deaths increased by about 10 percent last year. On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in a crash, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics.
There were 2,368 pedestrians who were killed in the first six months of 2015, compared to 2,232 during the same period in 2014 – a six percent increase. Typically, many more pedestrian deaths are recorded during the upcoming summer months. Pedestrian fatalities have steadily increased since 2005, and now account for 15 percent of total traffic deaths. Four densely populated states – California, Florida, Texas and New York – accounted for 42 percent of the pedestrian deaths in the first six months of 2015.
In California, there were 697 pedestrian fatalities in 2014, the latest state statistics provided by the state’s Office of Traffic Safety.
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 or medical appointments 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.”
The Auto Club recommends the following tips for pedestrian safety:
- See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you.
- Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.
- Wear bright colors or reflective clothing at dusk and at night.
- Carry a flashlight when walking or walking pets.
- Walk on the sidewalk. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Parents should teach and reinforce children’s pedestrian safety habits.
The Auto Club recommends the following tips for drivers:
- Drivers should slow down and watch for children and families in neighborhoods and along school bus routes, at intersections and when backing out of driveways.
- Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- When approaching a crosswalk, reduce speed and be prepared to stop.
- When stopped at a crosswalk, allow enough room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians you have stopped for.
- Teen drivers should exercise extra caution.
- All drivers should not drive impaired by alcohol or drugs or distraction.