Beware of drowsy driving and reduced visibility on your commutes
Frederick, MD – Daylight saving time ends this Sunday at 2 a.m., which could create hidden dangers for the sleep patterns of commuters.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 6,400 deaths and 50,000 injuries occur every year on American roadways because of sleep-deprived drivers.
“While many will enjoy an extra hour of sleep this weekend, few commuters and motorists realize the added dangers that can come as the result of a time change – especially when they are behind the wheel,” said Ragina C. Ali, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Although we gain an hour of sleep, our sleep patterns are disrupted. This can result in unsafe drowsy driving episodes.”
Ali encouraged drivers to stay aware of their surroundings as the shorter days result in driving home in the dark.
Tips for Drivers
- Slow down.
- Turn on your headlights to become more visible during early morning and evening hours.
- Keep vehicle headlights and windows (inside and out) clean.
- Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around.
- Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
Tips for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- Cross only at intersections. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk.
- Cross at the corner – not in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
- Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street.
- Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking or biking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
- Avoid listening to music or make sure it is at a low volume so you can hear danger approaching.
- Bicycle lights are a ‘must have’ item for safe night riding, especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier.
By Timothy Young