EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While everyone prepares to fall back this weekend, AAA Northeast is reminding drivers of the hidden dangers that come with daylight saving time.

Setting the clocks back an hour means shorter days and longer nights, meaning drivers will spend more time commuting in the dark.

The time change allows for an extra hour of sleep, but AAA Northeast warns that it also means an increased risk for drowsy driving.

“Drowsy driving is a significant traffic safety issue,” AAA Northeast’s Diana Gugliotta said. “Americans ‘falling back’ by moving their clocks back by one hour may think they are gaining an extra hour of sleep, but they need to remember to monitor their sleep schedule to prevent drowsiness on the road.”

The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that each year, more than 6,000 people are killed in major crashes involving drowsy driving.

“The adjustment period after the clock change can be lengthy and drivers are more likely to drive drowsy, or be out of practice with driving in the dark,” Gugliotta said. “It’s essential for everyone to be extra vigilant about staying alert during these critical weeks as we all adjust to the changing conditions and earlier darkness.”

Daylight saving time should also serve as a reminder for everyone to test their smoke alarms and replace and batteries if needed.

“Home fires claim more lives in a typical year than all natural disasters combined, but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half,” Rebecca Johnson of the American Red Cross said.

Here’s a checklist of what everyone should do this weekend:

  • Adjust all manual clocks an hour back this weekend at 2 a.m. (Automatic clocks such as phones, cable boxes and laptops adjust on their own.)
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older as some components can falter over time.
  • Practice a home fire escape plan. Ensure everyone in your household knows what to do in the event of a fire and time it out to be sure its less than two minutes time.
  • Ensure each room in your home has two exits to escape through, such as doors and windows.