Sunday’s “Spring Forward” Means Monday’s Morning Commute to Work and School Will be in Darkness
Hamilton, NJ (March 10, 2017) –One of the most anticipated “signs of spring” arrives this weekend when the clocks “spring forward” (Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, March 12), losing an hour of our day in exchange for extended daylight hours we enjoy throughout the summer. However, come Monday morning, the commute will look very different for school students waiting for busses and motorists driving to work – in the dark.
“Most people will see a dramatic difference during their morning commute on Monday, as roadways remain darker longer, causing concern for pedestrians,” said Sue Madden, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Motorists and pedestrians, including school students waiting at bus stops, need to be aware of these dangers, remain alert, and minimize distractions to reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes.”
Losing an hour of sleep can also increase a motorist’s risk of drowsy driving. In a recent AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index report, nearly one in three drivers (32 percent) confessed they were so tired they drove drowsy during the previous 30 days. The study also found that nearly all drivers (97 percent) view sleepy drivers as a very serious threat to their personal safety.
Drowsy driving is involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year. New Jersey was the first state to enact a law penalizing drowsy drivers as being reckless and can impose fines up to $100,000 and even 10 years in jail if convicted in an accident that causes a fatality.
“A change in time can mean that drivers are more tired than they realize,” noted Madden. “AAA warns that drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for a crash.”
The auto club offers motorists and pedestrians the following safety tips:
AAA Mid-Atlantic Tips for Drivers
- Slow down, pay attention and eliminate all distractions.
- Watch out for pedestrians when backing up in parking lots or driveways.
- Sun glare can make it difficult to see so:
- increase your following distance from the vehicle ahead of you;
- utilize your sun visor and invest in polarized sunglasses, as both can help reduce glare.
- Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible during early morning and evening hours.
- Keep vehicle headlights and windows (inside and out) clean.
- Watch the high beams. Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around.
- Yield to pedestrians at crosswalks. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
AAA Mid-Atlantic Tips for Pedestrians
- Cross at intersections or crosswalks - not in the middle of the street or between parked cars. Do not jaywalk.
- Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street.
- Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if you are walking near traffic at dawn, dusk and night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
- Allow extra time and distance for a vehicle to stop in inclement weather.
- While walking, pocket the cell phone and avoid listening to your iPod or MP3 player at a volume that prohibits you from hearing approaching danger.
Do not let umbrellas or jacket hoods block your view of approaching traffic.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 56 million members nationwide and nearly two million members in New Jersey. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit https://aaa.com