CINCINNATI, Oh. (November 2, 2018)—With the end of daylight saving time, Ohio motorists need to prepare for related changes during their commutes. AAA warns motorists to be prepared for sun glare during their morning commute and for reduced visibility on the road during their evening commute.
“Ninety percent of drivers’ reaction time is dependent upon their vision, which is severely limited at night,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “Motorists should focus on night driving safety measures the moment the sun sets. It’s one of the most challenging times to drive because motorist’s eyes are frequently adjusting to the increasing darkness.”
AAA recommends wearing high-quality sunglasses and adjusting the car’s sun visors as needed. Late afternoon driving also presents a similar glare problem, so drivers should take the same precautions. Use of the night setting on rearview mirrors can reduce glare from headlights approaching from the rear.
The time change can also cause disturbed sleep patterns, and when combined with the earlier dusk and darkness during the evening commute, become a formula for drowsy driving and fatigue-related crashes.
Sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries on American roadways each year, according to the National Sleep Foundation (1).
Ohio Department of Public Safety data reveals that Ohio drivers who fell asleep, fainted or were fatigued caused crashes resulting in 16 fatalities, 1488 injuries and 1,608 damaged vehicles last year.
In addition, 145 pedestrians were killed on Ohio roadways, with 78% of those deaths happening at dawn, dusk or after dark, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
“While many will enjoy an extra hour of sleep this weekend, few commuters and motorists realize the added dangers that can come as the result of a time change – especially when they are behind the wheel,” continued Moore. “Although we gain an hour of sleep, our sleep patterns are disrupted. This can result in drowsy driving episodes and it is unsafe to drive when we are feeling sleepy.”
Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping eyes open, drifting from lanes or not remembering the last few miles driven. However, more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel.
AAA Tips for Drivers:
- Get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you do begin to feel drowsy while driving, pull over immediately and rest or call a family members, friend or 911 for assistance.
- Reduce speed and increase following distances
- 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.
AAA 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.
- 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 distracted walking. This includes looking at your phone or listening to music. If you must listen to music, 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.
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 59 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working 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.