Prioritizing Pedestrian Safety as the Days get Darker Earlier

clock moving forward surrounded by fall leaves

The end of Daylight Savings Time is fast approaching. When the clocks are set back one hour, we gain an hour of sleep but the days continue to grow shorter. The Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS) is here to shed light on the importance of pedestrian safety, especially in the dark. For much of the country, dusk will occur during rush hour, when people will be commuting home or engaging in outdoor activities. Shorter days increase the risk of vehicle crashes involving pedestrians.

Below are steps you can take when there are fewer daylight hours to help guard against the risks for vehicle and pedestrian incidents.

Reduced visibility is an obvious danger as the sun sets earlier. Drivers may struggle to see pedestrians clearly, especially in poorly lit areas. 

Preventive steps you can take as a pedestrian:

  • Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight to make yourself more visible to drivers.
  • Use only marked pedestrian crossings so drivers know when to expect someone walking across the road.
  • Avoid using noise-canceling earbuds or headphones that will prevent you from hearing your surroundings.
  • Look all ways before crossing a road. 

Preventive steps you can take as a driver:

  • Drive with your headlights on all the time for increased visibility to other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Approach intersections and crosswalks with extra care.
  • Refrain from any driving distractions such as talking on the phone or eating food.
  • Stay attentive to any drowsiness while driving. Do not wait to take action (like pulling over) if you feel yourself becoming sleepy behind the wheel. 

Road safety is a shared responsibility. By prioritizing visibility and adhering to safe driving and pedestrian practices, drivers and pedestrians can reduce the risk of collisions associated with fewer daylight hours.

For more information visit: ChORUSNHTSA Pedestrian Safety