This past weekend, we had to turn back the clocks to end Daylight Saving Time. As we move closer to winter the days become shorter and the sun goes down early in the evening, therefore it is time to go over road safety and traffic safety reminders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cautions both motorists and pedestrians to be more attentive to the risks of the road. It is much more likely to be involved in an accident in the darkness than during hours of sunlight.
Below are some tips to help keep you and your family safe:
- Slow down. With the sun setting earlier, it is important to be vigilant of pedestrians who might still be out and about.
- Be mindful and alert. Pedestrians can’t always see or hear an approaching vehicle; often times, they are wearing headphones as they walk. Keep an eye out for pedestrians. Never assume they can see you.
- Keep your car clean. Windshields can easily become blurry when dirty. Make sure that all mirrors and windows are clean and provide for the best visibility. This includes keeping wiper fluid stocked.
- Check lights. Make sure that all your vehicle lights are functioning properly. This includes headlights, backlights, and brake lights. This will help pedestrians see your vehicle and gauge your actions.
- Always stop. You should always stop for pedestrians regardless of the situation.
- Obey laws. Always obey posted speed limits, and drive to the conditions of the road when necessary. This includes not running red lights!
- Be vigilant. Scan the roadways, sidewalks, and shoulders for pedestrians who might step into the roadway without looking. When turning right on a red; stop, look, and always yield to pedestrians.
- Keep lit. Carry a flashlight or other source of light, or attach reflective material to your clothing. Reflective materials allow vehicle headlights to reflect light easily, making you visible to the driver.
- Don’t depend on traffic signals. Motorists may not be paying attention and can become easily distracted. Double check before crossing streets, even when you have the right of way. When approaching an intersection, watch for vehicles that are making a right or a left turn before crossing.
- Follow laws. Don’t jaywalk; the couple of seconds you saved may cost a lifetime of pain or injury. Crosswalks offer the safest alternatives for pedestrians.
- Use sidewalks. Whenever possible use sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks available, always walk on the street facing traffic. It is best to make eye contact with the driver before crossing.
- Wear light colors. Light colors are easier to see at night, while dark colors can be nearly invisible to drivers.
- Assume drivers can’t see you. When crossing a road, remember that drivers are paying attention to many other things. Always assume that a driver can’t see you and will not stop.
- Look both ways. Look, left-right-left. If it’s clear, begin crossing without taking your eyes off the road.
The early sunsets put more drivers and pedestrians on the road in the twilight hours when visibility is reduced. Thus, it is the best time of the year to go over traffic safety procedures with the entire family. As personal injury attorneys, we are much more aware of the dangers of forgetting to follow safety procedures, some of which can result in life-long devastation.