Source: Patch.com New Jersey
Daylight Saving Time ends ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, meaning earlier sunsets and an increased risk of car-deer crashes and drowsy driving.
“Falling back” to Standard Time — that is, setting the clock back an hour — also means you’ll be able to pack in an extra hour of fun with friends and family on Saturday or lounge in bed for an extra hour on Sunday. But afternoons will also zip away, with the sunset arriving earlier.
Until the days begin lengthening again after Friday, Dec. 21 of this year — the loss of an hour of daylight means many New Jerseyans will be leaving their workplaces around sunset. But deer have their clocks altered in a different way this time of year.
In general, deer are most active between dusk and 11 p.m., and they’re especially frisky about the time October meets November — it’s their prime breeding season, and they run about more wildly than usual. So slow down, know that if you see one deer more are likely to follow, pay attention to deer crossing signs and use your high beams — unless you’re meeting an oncoming car, of course — to increase your chances of spotting them. Brake if you can, but don’t swerve, because that could result in a more serious collision.
Longer nights also induce drowsy driving. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research shows drowsy-driving crashes most frequently occur between midnight and 6 a.m., and in the late afternoon — both times when there are dips in your circadian rhythm — your internal human body clock.
Thus, the risk of a fatal traffic accident is three times greater at night than during daylight hours, according to the National Safety Council. Animals, sleepy drivers and chemically impaired drivers all play a role, but decreased visibility is the main culprit: Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision can be compromised in the dark, and the glare of headlights from an oncoming vehicle can temporarily blind a driver.
To improve your night driving vision, the National Safety Council recommends:
– Make sure your headlights are clean and properly aimed.
– Dim your dashboard lights.
– Look away from oncoming lights.
– If you wear glasses, ask your optometrist about anti-reflective lenses.
– Make sure your windshield is clean and free of streaks.
– Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and decreased braking time.
Remember this, too: The evening rush hour is already a dangerous time because roads are crowded and drivers are eager to get home. With dusk coming an hour earlier, be extra patient, stay in your lane and keep an eye out for drivers who are darting in and out of lanes, and if you’re going somewhere unfamiliar, check the map before you go and memorize your route.