HARTFORD, CT (November 2, 2020) - The end of daylight saving time in Connecticut sharply increases the chance of drivers being involved in a crash during the evening commute, including an increase in the number of crashes involving pedestrians and deer.
“Turning the clocks back an hour means drivers will be in the dark this week during the evening commute as compared to last week when it was still light out, and the data clearly indicates that darker means more dangerous,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “Not only is there an increase in crashes overall, but there is an increase in crashes involving pedestrians which means everyone is really at greater risk.”
According to AAA’s analysis of UConn crash data from 2015-2019, comparing the number of crashes between 5-6p during the two weeks before we ‘fall back’ and the two weeks after:
- There is a 70% increase in the number of crashes
- There are almost 3X as many crashes involving pedestrians
- There almost 7X as many deer strikes (crashes involving deer)
In the last five years, the UConn crash data indicates, there were 24 crashes involving pedestrians during the two week period before the clock change (between 5-6p) – and 62 during the same time period in the two weeks after. According to crash data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 75 percent of all pedestrian fatalities occur after dark.
In the last five years, the UConn crash data indicates, there were 12 crashes involving deer during the two week period before the clock change (between 5-6p) – and 84 during the same time period in the two weeks after.
According to AAA Insurance, the average claim last year for crashes across Connecticut involving deer was more than $4500. AAA encourages drivers to review their policies to ensure they are appropriately covered in the event of a deer strike.
“Of course there are a number of contributing factors to the sharp increase in crashes, not only the additional drive time in darkness but also distractions and possibly drowsy driving as well,” Parmenter adds.
Even though there is, in theory, an hour of sleep gained, the time change means a disruption to your body clock, so drowsy driving is also a concern for the period immediately following the time change.
In fact, Nov 1-8, 2020 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.
AAA offers the following Tips for Drivers during the adjustment period:
- Slow down
- Drive defensively, scanning the road ahead for deer
- 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.
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