Earlier in March we all set our clocks forward one hour for daylight saving time. Now it stays darker longer in the morning, at least for a while, but it stays lighter longer in the evening. This presents hazards for pedestrians, who are at risk of being struck by a car during this time.
Pedestrian crashes in the early evening
Many pedestrians take their daily walk or run after work in the early evening. However, the hours between 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. are when 76% of fatal pedestrian crashes occur, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During spring and summer, when there are more hours of daylight, motorists may not expect to see pedestrians out as late as quarter to nine in the evening, especially as dusk falls. And, during fall and winter, when there are fewer hours of daylight, motorists may not be aware of pedestrians who are out on the street in the darkness.
There are ways that pedestrians and motorists can work together to prevent fatal pedestrian crashes.
Pedestrians can wear reflective clothing if they are using the streets in the darkness at night or in the morning before the sun comes up. Pedestrians should use sidewalks if they are available and obey all traffic laws. Pedestrians who travel against traffic and stick to the left-hand side of the road are easier for motorists to see and avoid.
Motorists must anticipate that there could be pedestrians in their vicinity day or night. Motorists should stop before crosswalks and yield to pedestrians. Motorists should obey all traffic laws, especially speed limits. Motorists should avoid distractions while driving and should remain alert behind the wheel.
By working to follow these safety tips, motorists and pedestrians can share the road responsibly and can avoid being involved in a fatal crash.