by Mary Wimmer
The seasonal time change when we “fall back” an hour happens on the first Sunday of November. It’s important that both drivers and pedestrians be aware of how quickly it will get dark in the coming days, particularly after the clocks change.
For drivers, it means that we’ll soon be driving in the dark a lot more. 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 at this time of year.
Depth perception, colour recognition, and peripheral vision are all compromised with earlier nightfall. Add to that the glare of oncoming headlights, and it is little wonder that traffic accidents and fatalities are generally higher in the evening hours than the daytime.
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. And be sure to follow CAA’s top tips for safer fall driving, below!
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.
Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they're clean.
Dim your dashboard to reduce glare.
Don’t look directly into the lights of oncoming traffic, but slightly to the right to avoid glare.
If you wear glasses, make sure they are anti-reflective.
Rush hour can be the most dangerous time on the roadway. Consider driving at other times of the day instead.
Never drive distracted – keep your phone in the glove compartment until you reach your destination.
Adjust your car’s entertainment or GPS navigation system before you begin driving.
Never drive when fatigued, sick, or recovering from illness.
And most importantly, reduce your driving speed!
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 before doing so, is especially important this season.