TxDOT urges drivers to use caution with time change
October 24, 2023
By Lauren Macias-Cervantes
It’s no secret that the end of Daylight-Saving Time spurs mixed emotions, but unfortunately it also brings an added danger to our travel. That early sunrise means it is likely dark by, or soon after work, making it harder to see pedestrians.
“Pedestrians should wear reflective clothing, use crosswalks and pedestrian signals, avoid distractions, and make eye contact with drivers,” said El Paso Police Officer Adrian Cisneros. “Cyclists should make sure that bikes are equipped with lights and reflectors, use hand signals, wear protective gear, and stay in designated bike lanes. Lastly, drivers should be extra vigilant, reduce speed, avoid distractions, and yield to pedestrians and cyclists.”
TxDOT has traffic safety campaigns like walking billboards that remind people to share the road safely. Pet owners who enjoy walking their animals can also take additional measures to improve their visibility during those dark hours by using reflective leashes and flashing body lights.
The cooler temperatures and the Halloween holiday also draw additional foot traffic, especially on that ghoulish night.
“Halloween will be here before you know it. Parents should plan a safe route, keep an extra eye on young children, choose bright costumes, avoid masks that restrict vision, set a curfew, stay on sidewalks, use crosswalks, travel in groups, and use caution while at intersections,” Cisneros said.
We often hear about drivers being distracted, but the same applies to pedestrians. The lack of attention or distraction while crossing the street is a common mistake in Texas cities like El Paso, according to police.
“Some pedestrians are consumed by their smartphone instead of paying attention to their surroundings. Pedestrians assume drivers will see them or can stop in time; this assumption can be dangerous,” Cisneros said. “Lastly, pedestrians not using designated crosswalks – most pedestrian traffic fatalities occur in non-designated crossing areas for example crosswalks.”
Statewide, October saw the highest number of pedestrian crashes in 2022. Most common factors include not yielding the right of way, driver inattention, failure to control speed, and alcohol impairment.
“Remember safety is a shared responsibility, by following these tips, we can all work together to make it a safe environment for everyone on the road. Stay vigilant and look out for one another,” Cisneros said.