Last weekend, Californians set our clocks back an hour and readjusted our lives to align with the end of daylight saving time. With summer behind us now, we are falling back into winter routines, which can include new work schedules, school classes and holiday weekends. With all this going on, it can be easy to forget that it's getting darker earlier in the evenings and the sun is coming up later in the mornings.
This can present a serious, though perhaps unexpected, hazard for people on California roads according to traffic safety authorities. In fact, statistics indicate that certain traffic accidents increase after time changes go into effect, primarily those involving pedestrians. Why would this be?
One of the main reasons that auto-pedestrian accidents increase in California after daylight saving time ends or begins is linked to drivers who may not be used to driving in the dark. For example, a driver who heads home from work every night at 5 p.m. may go from needing his or her sunglasses on the ride to having to turn on the headlights when we turn the clocks back.
Because of this, drivers may not used to having to look out for pedestrians. Just last week it may have been very easy to see a person crossing the road in the early evenings, but when it is dark out and a driver is not paying attention, it can be very easy for a driver to crash into a pedestrian, causing serious injuries or fatalities.
Until people have adjusted to the time change, it can be crucial to take extra care around pedestrians on the road. But whether it is dark out or the sun is shining bright, drivers should always look out for pedestrians and share the roads responsibly.
Source: ABC 23, "Leaving Daylight Saving Time means more pedestrian accidents," Mark Christian, Oct. 29, 2013