Falling Back and Springing Forward Both See Accident Rates Rise
The clocks fell back this weekend and police sent out numerous warnings to drivers and pedestrians about safety on the roadways. This time change means we got one extra hour to sleep on Sunday morning.
The reality of the situation is that the number of light hours in the day decreases as we approach the winter solstice, and this time change means that the days seem much shorter very quickly. Sunset is an hour earlier today than it was Friday. This causes a lot of problems for drivers who face an increased challenge of spotting pedestrians and other vehicles on the road. Darkness limits visibility and increases accident rates.
Police recommend that drivers should slow down in the dark, and that pedestrians become extremely cautious. This has been a bad year for pedestrian collisions even with the longer days of summer. There is some fear that even more pedestrians will be hit by cars now.
Police in Durham Region have begun a campaign called “Do the Bright Thing” and are handing out LED lights to commuters at the Ajax Go Station. They hope that in combination with public advertisements and awareness campaigns pedestrians and cyclists will be safer on the roads. York Police have officers stationed at intersections in Markham where drivers have hit pedestrians. They will be speaking to pedestrians and aggressively ticketing drivers that fail to yield, are distracted or not alert.
Police recommend that drivers:
- Be alert behind the wheel
- Put their phones away when driving
- Make eye contact with pedestrians
- Yield the crosswalk to pedestrians
- Watch for cyclists in their blind spots
- Slow down
Pedestrians and Cyclists should:
- Follow the rules of the road
- Not walk and test or ride and text
- Pedestrians should cross at cross walks
- Pedestrians should be cautious and not assume that drivers will see them or stop
- Consider wearing reflective clothing and an LED light in the dark to be extra visible
- Do not walk on the road
- Ride in well lit areas