Travelers and commuters should take extra caution on evening walks in the coming weeks.
In New York City, 40 percent of pedestrians killed in car accidents last year were hit between October and December, when nights get dark earlier and make it harder for drivers to see people on the street, according to NY1 News. The city is using signs, billboards and TV ads this year to warn locals of the problem, as well as stepping up police enforcement during and after the daylight saving switch.
“You do see a big jump in pedestrian fatalities and injuries in the evenings in the fall when the change back to standard time makes the evenings suddenly darker,” Michael Flannagan, an associate research professor at the University of Michigan, told The New York Times.
The “spring forward” time change can be dangerous, too. Experts theorize that sleep deprivation makes drivers more likely to hit pedestrians in the first few days after clocks jump forward.
And in fall, that “extra hour” may be equally to blame. One study concludes that drivers who stay out late the night before the time change ― especially those who spend it drinking ― contribute to higher pedestrian fatalities.
Whatever the case, please be careful when crossing the street, and enjoy a long, happy autumn.