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Connecticut DOT Issues Safety Tips and Reminds Residents to be “Pedestrian Aware” with Upcoming Time Change

October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, and in conjunction with the upcoming shift to Eastern Standard Time, the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office strongly urges motorists and pedestrians to be more alert to roadway risks as the end of Daylight Saving Time approaches.

The change to Eastern Standard Time, occurring on November 1, at 2:00 AM, means drivers' evening commutes will suddenly switch from daylight driving, to dark, nighttime driving conditions, with the sun going down as or before most motorists begin their afternoon commutes home. The change is literally – night and day.

The most obvious increase in danger is a result of poorer visibility – motorists will rush home, now in darkness, when only a few days prior, they were still commuting during daylight hours. Pedestrians, who were easily visible before, in all likelihood, will be significantly less visible to motorists as a result of the time shift.

“Our top priority is safety and we all have a role to play,” said Joseph Giulietti, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Transportation. “I urge everyone, whether you’re a pedestrian or a motorist, to look out for one another, to remain alert, drive cautiously, avoid distractions, and follow the rules of the road.”

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), twenty-six percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred from 6 to 8:59 p.m. in 2018.

There are steps motorists can take to help reduce or prevent injuries and tragic loss of life on Connecticut’s roadways:

1. Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.

2. Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.

3. Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.

4. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the cross-walk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.

5. Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.

6. Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

7. Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.

8. Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.

9. Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.

Additional safety information, including tips for parents, caregivers and children can be found at NHTSA’s Pedestrian Safety Page here.

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