The end of daylight savings time means more kids will be walking and biking home at dusk and in the dark. Sunset this week is around 4:30 pm. Newton Safe Routes to School offers the following safety tips:
WHEN YOU DRIVE: Remember, kids walking at dusk may ASSUME DRIVERS CAN SEE THEM even when they can’t. Keep kids safe and take these steps:
- Slow down: In dusk/dark, more time is needed to see pedestrians. Increase the recommended safe following distances. The more space, the more time there is to react. Slow down even further during rain.
- Always stop: for pedestrians crossing the street. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
- Be extra cautious: Decreased visibility calls for more vigilant driving. Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians in neighborhoods and along school bus routes, at intersections and when backing out of driveways. Watch for pedestrians at every crosswalk.
- Be seen: Turn on headlights to be more visible at dawn and dusk.
- Eliminate distractions: Put away phones, food and drink. Keep your eyes on the road.
- Beware of glare: Clean windshields inside and out. Dirty windshields can magnify glare.
REMIND YOUR WALKING AND BIKING KIDS TO:
- Cross at well-lit crosswalks, wait for the walk signal at stoplights, and make sure vehicles stop before you start to cross. Continue to look both ways as you cross the street.
- On the sidewalk, watch for cars pulling in and out of driveways.
- Remember that just because you can easily see a driver, that driver may not see you. Drivers have lights from the dashboard, headlights pointed their way, and reflections from the car mirrors that keep them from seeing as well as you do as a pedestrian.
- Wear reflective clothing or clip something reflective to your backpack. Even better, add a blinking light. Cyclists turn on your front and back lights on the way to and from school.
- Avoid distraction: put your phone and headphones in your pocket. Keep your hood off so you can look around. Be predictable.