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Rise in pedestrian accidents may follow end of daylight savings

Last weekend, kids across the nation celebrated Halloween. Less than two days later, kids and adults alike celebrated the extra hour of sleep they received as daylight savings time came to an end. Clocks were shifted backward by an hour.

The cost-benefit analysis of daylight savings time remains a controversial issue, but many people fail to realize that changing clocks twice a year often comes with some safety hazards. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it takes drivers several weeks to adjust to the end of daylight savings time because their evening commute is more likely to occur in darkness or at sunset. During this period of adjustment, car and pedestrian accidents are more likely to occur.

No matter what time of year it is, pedestrian accidents are particularly likely during sunrise and sunset hours, which also tend to coincide with commuting to and from work. According to NHTSA data, there were nearly 4,100 pedestrian deaths in 2009. Of those deaths, 13 percent occurred between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and 25 percent occurred between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

If you regularly drive during these times, it is important to be especially careful while you adjust to the change in daylight hours. Your best bet is to slow down and constantly scan the roads and sidewalks for pedestrians.

And if you are a pedestrian (or have children who walk to and from school), please understand that visibility may be an issue. As such, all pedestrians should be especially careful when crossing streets.

Source: TurnTo23.com, “NHTSA says it takes motorists several weeks to adjust to time change,” Mark Christian, Nov. 5, 2014

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