Fall Back; Change Smoke Detector Batteries

Daylight Saving Time ends early Sunday morning, Nov. 3, meaning clocks will need to be set an hour back on Saturday night. The American Red Cross and others also urge people to use the time change as a good opportunity to test their smoke alarms and change their batteries, a simple job that could save the lives of you and your family members.

In addition, the time change means that it will be getting darker even earlier in the evening, meaning that motorists and pedestrians should be more alert, as changes in sunlight and darkness throughout the day affect motorists, particularly at dawn, dusk, and after dark.

“Ohioans will gain an extra hour of sleep this weekend thanks to the time change. It also means it is getting darker even earlier, reducing visibility and making it more important than ever for motorists to watch out for pedestrians during evening commutes, especially in residential areas and near schools,” according to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). “From 2009-2018, 1,134 pedestrians were killed on Ohio roadways, with over 70% of those deaths happening at dawn, dusk or after dark. October, November and December are the deadliest months for people walking in the Buckeye State and account for 34% of annual pedestrian deaths since 2009.”

“With the time-change impacting visibility for all road users, we are asking drivers to slow down and pay extra attention for people walking and biking,” said Cait Harley, ODOT’s Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Manager.

Your Move Ohio (YourMove.ohio.gov), offers these time change safety tips.

For motorists:

• Slow down: During the early morning and evening hours, more time is needed to see pedestrians. Increase the recommended safe distances. The more space, the more time there is to react. Slow down during rain and fog too.

• Always stop: for pedestrians crossing the street. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.

• Be extra cautious: Decreased visibility calls for more vigilant driving. Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians in neighborhoods and along school bus routes, at intersections and when backing out of driveways.

• Be seen: Turn on headlights to be more visible during early morning and evening hours.

• Eliminate distractions: Put away the phone and change the time on vehicle clocks before starting to drive.

• Beware of glare: Clean windshields inside and out. Dirty windshields can magnify glare. Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around.

For pedestrians:

• See and be seen: Reflective clothing and lights can increase visibility. Use bike lights outside of daylight hours and in the rain.

• Cross consciously: Cross at intersections or in marked crosswalks.

• Walk left: Walk in the opposite direction of traffic.

• Ride right: Ride in the direction of traffic. Follow traffic signs and lights.

• Be aware: Avoid distractions and make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.

AAA East Central is also offering their “fall back” driving tips for the end of Daylight Saving Time.

“With the end of daylight saving time this weekend, motorists will be presented with challenges during their commutes that could impact pedestrian safety,” according to AAA East Central. “AAA East Central recommends that motorists and pedestrians make changes in their daily habits to adjust to reduced visibility caused by sun glare in the morning, and earlier darkness in the evening.”

“While the extra hour of sleep may be nice, the time change can be deadly for pedestrians,” said Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs, AAA East Central. “Twilight is one of the most challenging times of the day to drive, so extra precautions can go a long way in the weeks ahead.”

The end of daylight saving time change can also cause disturbed sleep patterns for motorists, and when combined with the earlier dusk, they can become a formula for drowsy driving and fatigue-related crashes, according to AAA.

“Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has revealed that because it is more difficult to detect following a crash, drowsy driving incidents are nearly eight times more common than federal estimates indicate,” AAA states. “Moreover, researchers at Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University have found that the effects of the time change on motorists have been shown to last up to two weeks following the time change.”

AAA’s Tips for Motorists:

• Get plenty of rest. Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping your eyes open, drifting from lanes, or not remembering the last few miles driven.

• Get some shades. Wear high-quality sunglasses and adjust the car’s sun visors as needed to avoid glare in the morning.

• Change driving habits. Reduce speeds and increase following distances, especially in more populated areas.

• Ditch the distractions. This can include cell phones, infotainment systems, or clocks that need to be turned back an hour.

• Use the headlights. This can make you more visible to pedestrians in the morning and evening. Don’t forget, even though the time changed, many will stick to their normal habits of walking home or exercising in the later hours.

• Remember to yield. Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks. Also, don’t pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks. Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks.

AAA’s Tips for Pedestrians:

• Cross only at intersections or crosswalks. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.

• Use the sidewalk. If you have to walk on the road, be sure to walk facing traffic.

• Dress brightly. Wear bright or reflective clothing if you are walking or biking near traffic at night. Consider carrying a flashlight.

• Avoid distracted walking. This includes looking at your phone, wearing headphones, or listening to music.

• Bike smartly. Bicycle lights are a must-have item for safe night riding, especially during the winter months when it gets darker earlier.

About Your Move Ohio

ODOT created Your Move Ohio (YourMove.ohio.gov) in response to a multi-year surge in fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes and epidemic levels of chronic diseases — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — in the state. Its main goals are to encourage more Ohioans to choose active transportation and improve safety for everyone on Ohio’s roadways.

Details and free downloadable resources are available at YourMove.ohio.gov and on Facebook.com/YourMoveOhio . Share your active transportation story with the hashtag: #YourMoveOhio .

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 79 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 Twitter and Facebook.

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