(Coppell, TX) - U.S. daylight-saving time will end at 2 a.m. Sunday when clocks are set back one hour. With the time change and shorter daylight hours, AAA Texas is recommending vehicle owners take the time to restore or replace deteriorated headlight lenses. A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that cloudy headlight lenses that were restored doubled the maximum light intensity and reduced glare-producing light scatter by 60 percent, yet only 20 percent of Americans have performed this service on their vehicles. AAA’s Automotive Research Center based in Southern California performed the testing for the AAA Foundation study.
“Now is the time to get your headlight lenses restored or restore them on your own with a do-it-yourself kit found at stores carrying auto supplies,” said AAA’s Automotive Research Center Manager Megan McKernan. “Cloudy or dirty headlight lenses are not just an aesthetic issue. An annual service of the headlights on older vehicles will increase your nighttime visibility and minimize distracting glare for fellow drivers.”
The time change can also cause disturbed sleep patterns in drivers, which combined with earlier dusk and dark evening commutes, could lead to drowsy driving. In November 2014, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found the impact of having drowsy drivers on the road is considerable. Drowsy drivers are involved in an estimated 21% of fatal crashes. Drivers themselves are often crash victims who die in single-car crashes.
AAA Texas recommends drivers adjust their habits behind the wheel and watch for children and others outdoors who will be less visible, especially during the first weeks of the time change.
“Drivers can expect reduced visibility because the evening commute time will be darker,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe. “Teen drivers who aren’t as experienced with nighttime driving and drivers with vision issues may need to be especially careful both in the evenings and the mornings.”
The morning sun may cause reflections off car windows, hoods or other metallic portions of automobiles and can be a serious hazard to drivers and pedestrians. In addition, children, pedestrians, joggers, walkers and bicyclists could be much less visible in the evenings.
AAA Texas recommends the following tips for pedestrians:
- See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you
- Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets
- Wear bright colors or reflective clothing at night
- Carry a flashlight when walking or walking pets in the dark
- Walk on the sidewalk. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
- Slow down during rain.
- Watch for children and families in neighborhoods and along school bus routes, at intersections, and when backing out of driveways.
- Give bicyclists at least a 3-foot buffer when passing them or slow down considerably if that’s not possible
- Reduce glare in morning sun with high-quality sunglasses and adjusting vehicle’s sun visors as needed
- Use night setting on rearview mirror to avoid glare from oncoming headlights
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas. Find more information in the AAA Texas newsroom at: http://tx-aaa.iprsoftware.com/