SPRING FORWARD WITH CAUTION, AAA WARNS

Time Changes Effect Both Drivers and Pedestrians

one way street at night oncoming headlights

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (March 8, 2018)Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 11th, when most U.S. states will ‘spring forward’ one hour.  With that change also come changes in sunrise and sunset times that may affect drivers and pedestrians. Across the nation pedestrian deaths have increased and that’s why AAA Tidewater urges all adults to pay extra attention this month while driving or walking outdoors and for parents to teach children playing outside to watch out for motorists. 

 Motorists should drive slower and be extra alert, especially in neighborhoods and school zones because more pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists will be enjoying the outdoors on or near streets in the longer evening daylight hours. Last year, nationally, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed, a nine percent increase from the previous year and a 25-year high, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In Virginia, there were 114 pedestrian fatalities in 2017, a 5.8 percent decrease from the 121 in 2016.

 When the time changes, drivers can expect reduced visibility during the morning commute since sunrise is not until after 7 a.m. “The early morning drive to work or school will be darker and makes it more difficult to see pedestrians and also school children on foot,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia.  “Drivers also may need to turn on their headlights, if beginning their commute in the early morning and then turn their car headlights off when they get to their destination.” 

 The AAA recommends the following tips for pedestrian safety:

  •  See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you.
  • Pay attention. Put down your cell phone while walking
  • Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing at dusk and at night.
  • Carry a flashlight when walking or walking pets after dark.
  • Walk on the sidewalk.  If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • Parents should teach and reinforce children’s pedestrian safety habits.

 The AAA recommends the following tips for drivers:

  •  Drivers should slow down and watch for children and families in neighborhoods and along school bus routes, at intersections and when backing out of driveways.
  • Always yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • When approaching a crosswalk, reduce speed and be prepared to stop.
  • When stopped at a crosswalk, allow enough room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians you have stopped for.
  • Teen drivers should exercise extra caution.

 As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia.