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Disturbing Reminder of What’s at Risk
In the wake of the deaths of 5 Children at School Bus Stops, AAA Warns
Drowsy Driving and Sun Glare Will Increase Risks Come Monday
Five children were killed and six others hospitalized after multiple crashes last week at school bus stops across the country. Now, with the clocks turned back by an hour marking the end of Daylight Saving, AAA is reminding drivers that there will be even greater risk to school children – and everyone on the roads – come Monday morning.
“Even though drivers will, in theory, be gaining an hour of sleep, the body clock is not as quick to adjust as the wall clock, so the disruption, in reality, means more drowsy drivers,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “Worse yet, the time change means sun glare could pose a greater threat during the morning commute as well”.
The five bus stop fatalities all occurred in the early morning hours over a span of three days. Investigators say distracted driving has become a ‘huge problem’.
“The greatest risk to school children is not when they are on the bus, but when they are approaching or leaving one”, Parmenter adds.
Passing a school bus when lights are flashing and the stop sign is out is against the law in Connecticut. Drivers could face a steep fine – or worse, the deadly crashes serving as a disturbing reminder of what is really at risk.
Of course the time change means more drivers will face a darker evening commute as well.
AAA is urging all motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to limit distractions and take every precaution to ensure everyone’s safety.
AAA offers the following Tips for Drivers during the adjustment period:
- Slow down.
- Eliminate distractions
- Turn on your headlights to become more visible during early morning and evening hours.
- Keep vehicle headlights and windows (inside and out) clean.
- Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around.
- Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
- When driving into the sun, leave more following distance, use your sun visor, wear polarized sunglasses
AAA Offers these Tips for Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- Cross only at intersections. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk.
- Cross at the corner - not in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
- 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 or biking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
- Avoid listening to music or make sure it is at a low volume so you can hear danger approaching.
- Bicycle lights are a ‘must have’ item for safe night riding, especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut. 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 www.aaa.com.