Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

With the clocks moved back an hour and daylight saving time having come to an end, pedestrians walking during the evening rush hour are at greater risk than at any other time during the year.

The Morris County Division of Transportation cites a study by Carnegie Mellon University, which found pedestrians who are walking at 6 p.m. in November are nearly three times more likely to be struck and killed by cars than before the time change.

“Both pedestrians and motorists need to use additional caution this time of year,” said Gerald Rohsler, director of the division. “Pedestrians should take extra care to make sure drivers can see them, and motorists driving at dusk and after dark have to be on the lookout for pedestrians.”

Rohsler suggested those out for a stroll should wear reflective or bright clothing and always cross the street at a crosswalk, looking left and right and then left again for cars coming before crossing the street. He advised pedestrians to keep on the sidewalk, or walk against traffic in areas where there are no sidewalks.

Drivers should concentrate on the white lines on the side of the road ahead to avoid the glare of oncoming headlights and to be able to see pedestrians who be ahead, Rohsler said. He also urged drivers to take an extra look when turning at a green light or turning right on red to make sure their path is free of pedestrians.

“Motorists should remember that pedestrians have the right of way,” Rohsler said. “We all need to be safe and use extra caution as we adjust to the time change and the earlier hours of darkness.”