This past Sunday, everyone in Indiana and Illinois moved their clocks back one hour, as Daylight Savings Time ended for 2013.
While Illinois is entirely within the Central Time Zone, Indiana is not; in fact, time is rather complicated in the State of Indiana (as the image depicts). Straddling the boundary line between the Eastern Time Zone and the Central Time Zone, Indiana has had somewhat of a bombastic history with the implementation of Daylight Savings Time and it was not until 2005 when the Indiana General Assembly voted for DST that Indianians had the chore of turning their clocks back in the fall. (Hawaii and most of Arizona still rebel against DST, and are the two remaining states not to participate in what is explained as an energy saving measure by the United States and some other 70-odd countries.)
Dark skies mean bigger dangers on the streets: car crashes, pedestrians being hit, and motorcycle accidents are at higher risk right now.
With this change in the morning alarm clock, lots of people are having to adjust to darker evening commutes, along with those who are walking or riding to school, to bus stops, or over to campus. People will be tired as their body clocks get adjusted to the new time frame, and the evening travel from work or school to home will not have natural daylight now. This means that there will be a higher risk of pedestrian accidents, car crashes, and motorcycle accidents.
In fact, the dangers of the DST transition are so real that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a national news release this week, advising consumers on this danger. Here is the warning from the NHTSA:
WASHINGTON – As Daylight Saving Time ends on November 3, and clocks are turned back, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cautions motorists and pedestrians to be more alert as the potential for harm increases as darkness falls earlier. NHTSA offers the following tips for motorist and pedestrian safety during the shorter days of autumn and winter:
- Slow down. During the evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
- Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
- Keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean. Make sure your defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly and that washer fluid is replaced as needed.
- Carry a flashlight or attach reflective materials – such as fluorescent tape – to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
- Don’t depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
- Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. Crosswalks offer a safer alternative.
- Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, face traffic.
- When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars from the curb.
- Do not cross the street if a car is coming and use a crosswalk if available.
- Watch out for cars at every driveway and intersection.
- Stay completely focused on the road and avoid distractions.
NHTSA also cautions that the clock adjustment could catch some drivers by surprise – with sun glare or darkness occurring during different parts of their familiar driving routine. Also since sleep patterns are affected, the agency warns drivers to be aware of their need for rest and the effects that a loss of sleep can have on driving attention and fatigue.
For more information, please see the Kenneth J. Allen Law Group web resources page for pedestrian accidents, auto accidents, and motorcycle crashes as well as our blog posts on motorcycle accidents, car crashes, and pedestrian accident injuries.