MDOT reminds motorists to be alert as clocks "fall back" on Sunday
October 30, 2020 -- When the ghosts, goblins, vampires, witches, and zombies return home on Halloween night, the clocks will "fall back" to standard time on Sunday, Nov. 1, causing a fright when we lose light one hour earlier. It does not have to be a spooky sight because the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) reminds motorists to watch out for pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists each evening on the drive home.
Research from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute confirms that pedestrians are more at risk of serious injury from a motor vehicle crash in the weeks following a return to standard time. The most dangerous time is the first hour of darkness.
"Drivers need to realize that after the time change it may be more challenging to see people walking, running, or bicycling as they will be much less noticeable," said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. "To ensure visibility, pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists are encouraged to wear brighter-colored clothing with reflective material. Drivers need to eliminate distractions, slow down, and focus fully on the task of driving."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes in 2018 resulted in the deaths of 6,283 pedestrians and 857 pedalcyclists (bicyclists and riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals). Unfortunately, these incidents increased by 3.4 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, from the previous year. Most pedestrian fatalities (76 percent) and pedalcyclist fatalities (50 percent) occurred during dark conditions between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
MDOT continues to work with partners statewide on the Toward Zero Deaths safety campaign based on the National Strategy on Highway Safety, which is intended to influence driver behavior and improve safety. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, visit MDOT's website at www.Michigan.gov/ZeroDeaths.