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Earlier sunset means potential increase in pedestrian accidents

For most Kentucky residents, the day when we end Daylights savings time and “fall back” and hour is a welcome relief and an extra hour of sleep on the weekends. However, it also means that it gets darks at an early time, which means that we are still out running errands and walking our dogs when the sun goes down.

Safety experts say that on an annual basis this actually leads to an increase in traffic accidents involving pedestrians. The trend is constituent nationwide, indicating that the early darkness in winter can be more of a hazard that we might realize.

Of course, drivers have a duty to use their headlines as dusk falls and to keep an eye out for pedestrians who may be on or near the road. Pedestrians also need to be aware of their surroundings and wear brightly colored clothing with reflective fabric if possible.

The increased risk impacts school children in particular, so many schools advise parents and students on safety tips and urge parents not to allow children to walk home when it is dark outside.

Pedestrian accidents often involve a distracted driver who is using their cellphone or doing some other activity that takes their eyes off of the road. This can be particularly dangerous in intersections when a pedestrian might not realize that a driver hasn’t seen them. Alcohol can also be a factor in pedestrian-car crashes if the driver is intoxicated and does not notice or react quickly enough to a person walking near the road or across the street.

Source: ABC 23, "Leaving Daylight Saving Time means more pedestrian accidents," Mark Christian, Oct. 29, 2013

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