End of Daylight Saving Time brings challenges on the road

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — From morning sun glare, to rush hour traffic in the dark, the clocks “falling back” brings added challenges for those on the road.

Courtesy: Emily Silvi

According to AAA’s website, “the fall and winter months bring less daylight and darker commuting hours, which can lead to more crashes between cars and pedestrians or bicyclists,” warns the fall 2019 Street Smart Program.

If you commute in the mornings in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania, you may have noticed the angle of the sun is a little different since the clocks were rolled back for the end of Daylight Saving Time.

Motorists have reported having a hard time seeing the road when driving during the time the sun rises and sets. You can check out some tips to keep you safe on the road at these times at drivingtests.org.

Roadways for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and others can be dangerous come nightfall, as well. With the time change, many motorists are now making their “rush hour” commute in the dark. The amount of vehicles and pedestrians on or near the roadways at this time of day can be dangerous if you’re not prepared.

AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following 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.
  • 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.

Many Pennsylvanians find it common to see deer near roadways while driving. According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, at this time of year, deer-vehicle crashes are rising toward their peak.

“Deer are on the move now seeking new food sources, which often require them to travel further distances during the fall and winter. Typically, the greatest number of deer-vehicle crashes occur in mid-November when the rut, or mating season, peaks,” said Colin Berg, Information Education Supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. 

AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following tips:

  • Be especially attentive in early morning and evening hours. Many animals, especially deer, are most active from 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m. – prime commuting times for many people.
  • Pay attention to road signs. Yellow, diamond-shaped signs with an image of a deer indicate areas with high levels of deer activity.
  • Keep your eyes moving back and forth. Continuously sweep your eyes across the road in front of you for signs of animals and movement. Animals may also be alongside the road, so make sure to look to the right and left, as well.
  • Use high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic. You can spot animals sooner. Sometimes the light reflecting off their eyes will reveal their location.
  • Slow down, and watch for other deer to appear. Deer rarely travel alone, so if you see one, there are likely to be more nearby.
  • One long blast. A long blast on your horn may frighten animals away from your vehicle.
  • Use brakes if an impact is imminent. Don’t swerve. Instead, stay in your lane. Swerving away from animals can confuse them so they don’t know which way to run. “If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said Madeja. “More serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to miss deer and lose control of their vehicle, leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic.”
  • Always wear a seatbelt. The chances of getting injured when hitting an animal are much higher if you don’t have your seatbelt on.

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