With daylight saving time beginning Sunday, March 9, at 2 a.m., Americans will "spring forward" and set their clocks ahead one hour. Losing an hour of sleep and the change in daylight hours means motorists may potentially experience drowsy driving and added distractions on the road.
"Though most are looking forward to this winter ending, we must remember the time change may affect habits when behind the wheel," said Tony Spada, president and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York. "Depending upon your drive times, you could be facing darker early mornings or driving into the rising sun, not to mention driving home in the setting sun."
In addition to the change of daylight, children, pedestrians, joggers, walkers and bicyclists will likely be more active outdoors. AAA advises motorists and pedestrians to remember the following tips to stay safe:
AAA Tips for Motorists
•In the early morning, watch out for pedestrians when backing up in parking lots or driveways. Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible.
•Leave more following room. When the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing.
•Invest in polarized sunglasses - they can help reduce glare.
•Utilize your sun visor, which can help to block out the sun.
•Be mindful of more children and others who are outdoors in the lighter evening hours.
•Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
•Pay attention and eliminate all distractions, including cell phones and car clocks that are off an hour.
AAA Tips for Pedestrians
•Cross only at intersections or crosswalks. Look left, right, and left again, and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.
•Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street.
•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.
•See and be seen. Carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing and/or accessories.
•While walking, pocket the cell phone and avoid listening to your iPod or MP3 player at a volume that prohibits you from hearing approaching danger.
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com or download its mobile app at www.AAA.com/mobile.