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End of Daylight Saving Time Increases Crash Risk

As daylight saving time ends and clocks are turned back, the risk of a San Diego traffic crash increases dramatically. So in addition to drinking that extra cup of coffee, it is also important to be extra cautious on the roadway.

According to a Canadian study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, motor vehicle crashes are 8.6 percent more common on the first Monday of daylight saving time. Another study based on U.S. crash data found that there is "a significant increase" in deadly crashes on that first Monday.

Unfortunately, the risk is not limited to the first week after we turn the clocks back. November and December are the darkest months of the year, with the sun setting during the evening commute. Of the thousands of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents every year, approximately one-quarter are killed between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Given the challenges posed by low-light conditions, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists must be extra vigilant. Below are some specific tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):


  • Slow down. During evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
  • Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
  • Keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean. Make sure your defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly and that washer fluid is replaced as needed.


  • Carry a flashlight or attach reflective materials - such as fluorescent tape - to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
  • Don’t depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
  • Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. Crosswalks offer a safer alternative.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, face traffic.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a San Diego motor vehicle accident involving a negligent driver, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.