Today, the sun will set in Sacramento at 6:02 p.m. This Sunday, however, marks the end of daylight saving time. Although falling back gives us an extra hour in our day, it also means an earlier sunset from now until spring.
While many people have strong feelings about whether daylight saving time should exist, the fact of the matter is that an earlier sunset means the streets are darker for longer at night. When it comes to driving, darkness is never a good thing.
More darkness means greater risk
We all know that darkness means decreased visibility. Decreased visibility for drivers is particularly bad for pedestrians - and data backs it up.
According to researchers throughout the country, the highest rates of pedestrian deaths caused by cars occur during changes in daylight saving time.
Aside from the extra hour of darkness in the evenings, studies also show that many drivers use that extra hour to stay out later on the Saturday before the change. As a result, there are more drowsy and possibly intoxicated drivers on the road, creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians.
How pedestrians can stay safe
Of course, drivers have a responsibility to stay vigilant on the road, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself if you're out walking at night:
- Wear reflective clothing or a reflective vest so drivers can see you. Carrying a flashlight can also help.
- Only cross the street in designated crosswalks. Drivers might not be looking for pedestrians in other places.
- Stay on sidewalks if you can. If there is no sidewalk, it is safest to walk toward traffic on the shoulder.
- Be vigilant. Keep your eyes out for possible risks and avoid looking at your cellphone while walking.
If you get hurt, don't wait to seek help
If you or someone you know is hit by a car while walking, do not wait to seek help. After getting the medical attention you need, it can be helpful to speak with a lawyer about your options for recovering damages. Medical bills, lost wages and other accident-related costs can all cause serious financial hardship for victims. A personal injury claim can help prevent that.