The end of daylight saving time, at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, and the coming winter mean less daylight and a reminder to use caution while driving, biking and walking on city streets.
A 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that three-quarters of all pedestrian fatalities occurred in the dark. A 2018 study by AAA Mid-Atlantic found that crashes in the Washington metropolitan area involving pedestrians on roads and walking paths peaked in the October (284), November (292) and December (288).
AAA provides the following safety tips for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Tips for Drivers:
- Slow down.
- Turn on headlights for increased visibility during early morning and evening hours.
- Keep vehicle headlights and windows (inside and out) clean.
- Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around.
- Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
Tips for Pedestrians and Bicyclists:
- Cross only at intersections. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear. Do not jaywalk.
- Cross at the corner – not in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
- Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you must walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step into the street.
- Wear bright colors or reflective clothing if walking or biking near traffic at night. Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
- Avoid listening to music or listen at a low volume so you can hear danger approaching.
- Bicycle lights are a must-have item for safe night riding, especially during the winter months when it gets dark earlier.
Find more pedestrian safety tips at www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety, on Rockville 11 and at youtube.com/cityofrockville. Search “pedestrian safety.”
Earlier this year, the Mayor and Council approved the Vision Zero Action Plan, a roadmap toward meeting the city’s goal of eliminating traffic-related deaths and serious injuries on Rockville roads by 2030 through improved road design, traffic law enforcement and education. Learn more at www.rockvillemd.gov/visionzero.