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American Automobile Association: With time change, pay attention driving or walking

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Pedestrians deaths have steadily increased over a 10-year period

  Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 11, when most U.S. states will spring forward an hour.

With the change comes a change in when the sun rises and sets, and that can affect drivers and pedestrians.

Across the nation, pedestrian deaths have increased— and that’s why AAA East Central urges all adults to pay attention while driving or walking outdoors as everyone adjusts to the time change. 

“With the time change, motorists should drive slower and should be extra alert,” said Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central Director of Legislative Affairs.  “More pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists will be enjoying the outdoors on or near streets in the longer evening daylight hours.”

Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2017, according to preliminary data from Governors Highway Safety Association.  Moreover, pedestrian fatalities have increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2016, while all other traffic deaths decreased by 14 percent.   

When the time changes, drivers can expect reduced visibility during the morning commute.  The early morning drive to work or school will be darker, making it more difficult to see pedestrians and school children on foot.  Drivers may need to turn on their headlights, if beginning their commute in the early morning and then turn their car headlights off when they get to their destination. 

AAA recommends the following tips for pedestrian safety:

  • See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you.
  • Pay attention. Put down your cell phone while walking.
  • 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 after dark.
  • Walk on the sidewalk.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • Parents should teach and reinforce children’s pedestrian safety habits.

AAA recommends the following tips for drivers:

  • All drivers should not drive impaired by alcohol or drugs or distraction. 
  • 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.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com.  Follow us on Twitterand Facebook.