Spring Forward...and FALL BACK!

It’s that time of the year again when our clocks go back an hour. Here are some helpful driving tips for the fall season.

by Mary Wimmer

The weather is growing cooler, the nights are getting longer and, yes, that means Daylight Saving Time will soon be ending. The seasonal time change when we “fall back” an hour will take place as it does every year on the first Sunday of November. So if you haven’t penciled the date in, take note of it now.

It’s important for both drivers and pedestrians to be aware of how quickly it will get dark in the coming days, particularly when the clocks change. For drivers, it means that we’ll soon be driving in the dark a lot more than we have been these past few months. Motorists are reminded that lack of light, rush hour traffic, and increased fatigue due to the hour change can all contribute to making driving at night more dangerous these days.

When it’s dark outside, depth perception, colour recognition and peripheral vision can all be compromised. Add to that the glare of oncoming headlights, and it is little wonder that traffic accidents and fatalities are higher in the evening hours than the daytime. For the average car, visibility with normal headlights on in the evening is only up to about 75 metres in the most ideal weather conditions.

Early darkness means that all drivers need to be extra vigilant of pedestrians, particularly young children as they walk home from school. Remember that the dusk can be a particularly dangerous time on the roadways and maintain a slower driving speed as a precaution.

Pedestrians are also reminded to be extra cautious as evening hours lengthen. Drivers have reduced visibility, so practicing safe walking habits such as always looking both ways before crossing a road and establishing eye contact with drivers when doing so is of particular importance in the fall.

Here are several ways that motorists can combat fall driving hazards:

  1. Always ensure that your windshield is free of dirt, streaks or anything else that may interfere with your ability to see clearly before you start driving.
  2. Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they're clean.
  3. Dim your dashboard to reduce glare.
  4. Don’t look directly into the lights of oncoming traffic but slightly to the right.
  5. If you wear glasses, make sure they are anti-reflective.
  6. Rush hour can be the most dangerous time on the roadway, if possible consider driving at other times of the day instead.
  7. Never drive distracted – keep your phone in the glove compartment until you reach your destination.
  8. Be sure to adjust your car’s entertainment or GPS navigation system before you begin driving.
  9. Never drive when fatigued, sick, or recovering from illness.
  10. And most importantly, reduce your driving speed!