The growing chill in the air, the rustling of leaves under our feet, and the holidays just around the corner all signal that it’s time to turn back our clocks. As we prepare to fall back an hour this weekend courtesy Daylight Savings Time it can be easy to discount the potential dangers that come with fewer hours of daylight to complete everyday tasks. The sun rising later and setting earlier means that morning and evening activities, like a daily run, walking the dog, commuting to and from work, and walking or biking to school might now be done under the cloak of darkness with diminished visibility for all involved. Colder temperatures also cause people to brace against the elements by using jacket hoods to keep warm and drivers often begin driving with frosty windshields (even though they shouldn’t). Both of these things restrict vision and make it considerably less likely for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to be aware of one another.
Traffic safety is a shared responsibility, so here’s a quick refresher to ensure safer travels via all modes of transportation:
See and Be Seen
- Leave headlights on an hour after dawn and turn them on an hour before dusk.
Don’t Drive Drowsy
- Avoid grogginess behind the wheel on dark mornings by allowing for sufficient prep time to fully wake up.
Walkers Watch Out
- Keep to sidewalks and crosswalks.
- Wear bright or reflective clothing, dark clothing in dark light make you difficult to spot.
- Slow down and stay alert when driving on residential streets and in school zones during early morning and afternoon hours.
- Ride on the side of the road (or bike lane if available) and ALWAYS obey traffic signals.
- Like walkers, dress to be seen and be sure you have reflectors and/or lights to make you more visible.
- Use caution when driving through piles of leaves, which can hide dangerous debris and become slippery when wet.
- Fall storms means down tree limbs and branches, be mindful of them blowing into the road.