Why daylight saving time is dangerous for drivers

Orange County officials offer tips for save travel

By Brianna Volz - Web producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Along with most of the country, Floridians will spring forward overnight Saturday to observe daylight saving time, but not without a safety warning.

Orange County officials on Friday warned drivers and pedestrians of the dangers that could follow losing an hour of sleep with the time change this weekend.

What makes the time change dangerous for those on Orlando roads? A number of things.

When drivers and pedestrians get ready to hit the road Sunday morning, it could still be dark during the early hours. Reduced visibility, in addition to the hour of sleep lost due to the change itself, can cause people to feel drowsier than usual.

[MORE: Florida moves closer to year-round Daylight Saving TimeWill Florida really go to Daylight Saving Time year-round?Get ready to spring forward with DST Sunday]

Orange County officials are urging drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and its transportation partners, for those reasons, to keep the following tips in mind while walking or driving during the early hours next week:

Driver Tips 

•    Stop before turning right on red.

•    Slow down! Speed is the cause of 32 percent of fatal crashes.

•    Stop for pedestrians at intersections and marked crossways. 

•    Never pass a driver who is already stopped for a pedestrian.

•    Be alert! No cellphones or earbuds while driving.

•    Allow for at least 3 feet between your vehicle and a cyclist when passing.

Pedestrian Tips 

•    Always cross a busy street at an intersection or within a marked crosswalk.

•    Make eye contact with drivers and be sure to stop before you cross in front of cars.

•    Be alert! No cellphones or earbuds while walking near traffic.

•    When walking on a road with no sidewalks, always walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic and keep as far left as possible.

•    Always look left, then right, and left again … and keep looking for oncoming cars as you cross the street.

•    Wait for the “Walk” symbol when crossing at a signalized intersection.

•    When walking in parking lots, always look out for cars that are backing up.

Cyclist Tips 

•    Always wear a helmet.

•    Wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility.

•    Ride on the right side of the road with traffic.

•    Be alert! No earbuds while riding near traffic.

•    Always use hand signals before turning or stopping.

•    Always obey stoplights and signs. 

•    Ride in a straight line. No weaving.

•    Make eye contact with drivers before turning.

Residents can suggest ways to improve pedestrian safety to Orange County officials by calling 311 or using the 311 smartphone app to submit pictures and report problems. 

To learn more about Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs' pedestrian safety initiative, Walk-Ride-Thrive!, click here.

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