Wednesday, November 10, 2010

AAA Offers Driving Safety Tips for Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time marks the beginning of reduced visibility on the roads and increased exposure to traffic safety risks for area motorists, school children, pedestrians and bicyclists, warns AAA Mid-Atlantic. The time change is the time of year when the number of crashes involving pedestrians increases, the auto club cautions.

A 2009 report by the National Safety Council showed that traffic death rates are three times higher at night than during the day. And, nearly 4 in 10 drivers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some point in their driving career. Night time driving is more challenging and risky than people think because motorists deal with known and unknown hazards such as darkness, fatigue, and limited vision.

As night time arrives a little sooner, pedestrians should wear light colored clothing, including reflectors, to increase visibility. Meanwhile, motorists should avoid driving when they are tired since drowsiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment. Driving while sleepy is just like driving while drunk or drugged and increases the chances of being in a fatal accident.

Fortunately, there are several effective measures drivers can take to minimize these after dark dangers. The auto club joins the National Safety Council in offering the following tips for staying safe while driving at night:
  • Prepare your car for night driving. Clean headlights, tail lights and windows inside and out.
  • Have your headlights properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
  • Don’t drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely impair your driving ability, it also acts as a depressant.
  • Avoid smoking when driving at night. Smoke’s nicotine hampers your night vision.
  • If there’s any doubt, turn your headlights on. Lights will help other drivers see you better in the early twilight hours. Being seen is just as important as seeing.
  • Reduce your speed and increase your following distances. It’s more difficult to judge other vehicle’s speeds and distances at night.
  • If an oncoming vehicle doesn’t lower beams from high to low, avoid glare by watching the right edge of the road, and using it as a steering guide.
  • If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest. Make frequent stops for light snacks and exercise.
  • If you’re having car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible. Warn approaching traffic by turning on your flashers, and setting up reflective triangles near the vehicle.
More information is available from AAA Mid-Atlantic.

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