Time change adds to walking dangers

WILMINGTON — For many, the evening commute will be in the dark, thanks to daylight savings time ending Sunday.

“Most people will see a dramatic difference during their commute home on Monday, as roadways become darker earlier, causing concern for pedestrians,” said Jim Lardear, director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, in a press release.

“Motorists and pedestrians alike need to be aware of these dangers and minimize distractions while walking, jogging or driving to reduce the risk of motor vehicle crashes.”

He offered the following 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.

With the time change, pedestrians and bicyclists also need to be even more proactive about safety. AAA suggests:

• 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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