Daylight Savings | Time to “Spring” Into Vehicle Safety
By The Greenway Girl
As if our weather here in Florida, hasn’t already fooled us into thinking that it’s Spring. Another sure sign that Spring has almost sprung - Daylight Savings starts this weekend.
You will not find me to be one of those critics grumbling about the archaicness of Daylight Savings Time. No siree, Bob! In fact, I am almost giddy at the thought of being able to leave work while there is still plenty of daylight to enjoy. Yes, even in Florida it is possible to get the Winter Blues.
As jubilant as I am about extended daylight hours, I am also a mom and so by nature, a worrier. More daylight in the evenings means that our children will be walking to school and waiting at school bus stops in the morning while it is still dark.This school year alone, in Central Florida, we have seen avoidable accidents that have resuled in injuries or death of 16 of our students.
The switch into Daylight Savings Time can have a dramatic effect on disrupting our regular sleep cycle as it puts us out of sync with our circadian rhythm. The biggest impacts of the time change on drivers can be felt on some of the key skills that affect the quality of our driving – poorer concentration, alertness behind the wheel and reaction time to potential hazards.
Therefore, it is critical that we all take the issue of safety on ourselves when driving, but especially during times that children are on their way to or returning from school.
By The Numbers
According to the National Safety Council, chances of being struck and killed as a pedestrian increase 1100% during hours of dark.
Additional research finds that pedestrians are three times more likely to be hit and killed by cars right after the switch.
Cornell University Cooperative Extension Program published a report that states “pedestrians walking along a road in dark clothing in the early morning or at night are first seen approximately 55 feet away, giving a driver less than one second reaction time. A driver traveling at 60 mph needs over 260 feet to stop”. Black\Blue can be seen 55 feet. White can be seen 180 feet ahead. Reflective materials can be seen at 200 - 1500 feet or more.
Prepare and Prevent
Making an effort to adapt to the time change can really pay off. Here are tips to help adjust to the time change:
Getting into the groove - Be aware of how your own body adapts to the time change and how that may affect your ability to concentrate and avoid hazards. Plan to get to bed earlier on Sunday to be ready for the Monday morning commute.
Lights on for safety - Prepare your vehicle for the change in conditions, particularly the darker morning commutes. Clean your vehicle’s headlights and check they are all working properly, especially your rear lights.
Can you see me now? - If walking, running or biking in the early moning hours or at night, wear white or light colors, use appropriate lighting on your bike, and always wear highly-reflective gear which provides 360° visibility.
Now is the perfect time to start thinking about how to keep your family, friends, and yourself safe and share the road!