As the clock springs forward Sunday morning, AAA released safety tips and vehicle to-do’s before Idahoans hit the road after a shortened night’s sleep.
BOISE, Idaho — As Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. MT on Sunday, AAA Idaho is reminding Gem State residents to take extra time Monday morning to ensure they are aware of their surroundings and provided tips as the clock springs forward.
AAA said drivers should be aware of kids walking and biking to school early in the morning as they travel and confirm their vehicles are clear of any mechanical issues.
17% of drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel while struggling to keep their eyes open in the last 30 days. 95% of drivers find it very or extremely dangerous to drive while drowsy, according to AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety research.
To avoid the extreme risk, AAA said traveling at times of the day when drivers are normally awake is recommended. The risk of a crash from driving after less than five hours of sleep compares statistically to driving while drunk.
“With the time change, we’re all going to miss out on sleep,” AAA public affairs director, Matthew Conde said. “But by the time our bodies tell us that we’re tired, it may already be too late to prevent a deadly crash. For most people, getting at least seven hours of sleep is critical to being an engaged driver.”
Heavy meals and ensuring medications will not impact drivers’ alertness with their doctor are two tips AAA recommends to avoid drowsy driving, even for morning owls. AAA said there is no substitute for a quality night’s sleep, such as caffeine or listening to loud music behind the wheel.
As for checking on your vehicle’s working order ahead of Sunday, AAA recommends restoring old headlights or purchasing a polishing kit. 80% of usable light on the road ahead can be blocked, if headlights are yellow or cloudy from hot temperatures and sunlight in the past.
“As the days get warmer, we spend more time out and about,” Conde said. “Before you know it, the sun has gone down, and the potential increases for dangerous interactions between vehicles and wildlife, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Restoring your headlights is an important and relatively inexpensive way to see and be seen.”
Once again, AAA said drivers must stay alert and slow down, especially in school zones and neighborhoods throughout the Gem State. Be aware of students crossing the street or moving between vehicles early in the mornings.
If a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle, the odds of the pedestrian being killed are 66% more likely while traveling at 35 mph than 25 mph, according to AAA.
Emergency workers are also at a greater risk of being killed while on the job than any other occupation. Be sure to move over to allow extra space for emergency vehicles and tow truck drivers when you see flashing lights.
“After a crash or vehicle disablement, additional congestion can result in significant delays and even secondary crashes,” Conde said. “Our emergency workers are true heroes, and if we give them enough room to quickly clear the scene, it’s a win-win.”
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