With daylight saving time beginning at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 8, 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.
"While many are looking forward to the end of a long, cold winter, few realize the added dangers that can come as a result of a time change, especially when behind the wheel," said Tony Spada, president and CEO of AAA Western and Central New York. "This hour change can disturb sleep patterns, perhaps even resulting in drowsy driving."
In addition to the change of daylight, children, pedestrians, joggers, walkers and bicyclists will likely become 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.
Daylight savings time ends Sunday, Nov. 1.
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.