When the clocks turned back this past weekend bringing an official end to daylight savings time, countless people across the state of Tennessee likely rejoiced as it meant another hour of sleep. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is warning people to know that with this extra hour of sleep comes extra responsibilities outside of just adjusting the clocks around the house.
In particular, the NHTSA is urging both motorists and pedestrians to proceed with extra caution as the end of daylight savings time coupled with the oncoming winter season introduces significant changes to driving and walking routines due to shorter daylight hours.
To that end, the agency has compiled a few essential tips to help prevent both car crashes and pedestrian accidents over the next few months.
Motorists are advised to do the following:
- Abide by the speed limit to give yourself more time to spot pedestrians.
- Prepare for excessive glare from the setting sun during the evening commute by putting a pair of sunglasses in your car.
- Ensure that your windows and mirrors are clean, washer fluid is full, and defrosters and windshield wipers are in working order.
Pedestrians are advised to the following:
- Use sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible, avoiding the temptation to walk in the street or jaywalk.
- Always look both ways before crossing the street as drivers can still be distracted and fail to notice the presence of a pedestrian.
- Wear reflective material or put reflective tape on bags and coats to help offset the loss of light caused by the early setting of the sun.
The unfortunate reality is that while these tips can go a long way toward making the winter season that much safer, they can't protect you from those motorists who choose to act with utter negligence or recklessness behind the wheel.
However, it's important to understand that if you have been seriously injured in a car accident or are mourning the wrongful death of a loved one in a pedestrian accident, that you may be able to hold these motorists accountable. An experienced legal professional can advise you of your rights and explore your options.
Source: Occupational Health & Safety, "Be alert as daylight savings time ends: NHTSA," Nov. 4, 2013