TOWSON, MD (November 2, 2018) – At 2:00 a.m., Sunday, November 4, 2018, Daylight Saving Time ends and everyone will turn their clocks back one hour. AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education warn motorists to be prepared for sun glare during their Monday morning commute and for reduced visibility on the road during their Monday evening commute.
The time change can 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 – conditions many drivers may be unaware of during the time change.
When clocks “fall back” in autumn, drowsy driving becomes a significant threat to motorists, cautions AAA Mid-Atlantic. That is because their evening commute will now take place in darkness.
“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,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This one hour shift in time during the fall not only creates darker driving conditions, it can also disturb sleep patterns, perhaps even resulting in drowsy driving episodes.”
Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report on sleep deprivation and motor vehicle crashes shows 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. With drowsy driving involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year, getting less than seven hours of sleep may have deadly consequences.
In addition, data from the 2017 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Culture Index study, shows that nearly all motorists (95.2%) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior; yet, approximately 3 in 10, nearly 31 percent, admit to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month. Of the surveyed drivers, 42.4 percent indicated that they have at least one or more days when they get less than six hours of sleep in a typical week.
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 (NSF).
AAA Mid-Atlantic Tips for Drivers
- Slow down.
- 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 Mid-Atlantic 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.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to over 59 million members nationwide and more than 975,000 members in Maryland. 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 AAA.com.