EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Not only do we lose an hour of sleep this weekend when we set our clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time, but AAA issued a warning Friday that the change could create some additional challenges on the roadways.
“Some drivers may suddenly find themselves driving into the rising or setting sun and there may be more sun glare during commuting hours,” said Diana Imundi, Public Affairs Manager with AAA Northeast.
The change goes into effect at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, which could cause some drivers to be more drowsy behind the wheel than usual. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that drowsy driving is a factor in 10% of crashes.
“Drivers will have to spend the next week adjusting to having less sleep and be aware of factors that could make them sleepy behind the wheel,” added Imundi.
Drivers who have slept for less than five hours have a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk, according to AAA, while drivers who miss one to two hours of sleep can nearly double their risk for a crash.
AAA recommends getting at least seven hours of sleep before hitting the road.
They also noted that as the days become longer, more children, pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists will be out and about during peak travel times. AAA offered the following tips:
Tips for Motorists:
- In the morning, watch for pedestrians when backing up in parking lots or driveways. Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible.
- Leave more following room. When the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing.
- Watch out for children and others who are outdoors in the lighter evening hours.
- Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
Tips for Pedestrians:
- Cross only at intersections or crosswalks. Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.
- Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you must walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- See and be seen. Carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing and/or accessories.
- Don’t walk and text. If you must use your cell phone, be sure to keep your eyes on traffic and your ears open to make sure you can hear approaching danger
And while the clock may change, it’s also a good reminder Providence firefighters say, to check on your smoke detector.
“It should be changed at least once a year so its perfect timing when you are changing your clock, you check your smoke detectors,” added Derek Silva, President of the Providence Firefighter’s Union.