The end of daylight saving time on Sunday signals more than turning back of the clocks; it's also a time to use extra caution on the state's roadways.
Between October and January is when nearly half of Washington's 60 bicycle and pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2013.
With fewer hours of daylight, increased fog and rainy weather, the Washington State Department of Transportation reminds drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists that these conditions can make visibility a challenge.
WSDOT offers these safety tips to help reduce the risk of collisions:
Pedestrians and Bicyclists
- Be seen – Wear bright or reflective outerwear, carry a flashlight, add lights to your bike or helmet and cross at lighted intersections when possible.
- Make eye contact – Know that the driver is aware of your presence so keep hats, hoods and umbrellas clear of your vision.
- Walk and bike where it's safest – Use sidewalks and bike lanes when they are available, and if not, walk at the edge of the road facing traffic, and ride with the flow of traffic.
- Cross the roadway at intersections – Crossing in mid-block, or jaywalking, is a contributing circumstance in pedestrian collisions. This applies in parking lots and garages.
- Stop for pedestrians – It's the law. Drivers must stop for pedestrians at intersections, whether it's an unmarked or marked crosswalk. It is also illegal to pass another vehicle stopped for a pedestrian at a crosswalk. Failure to yield to pedestrians is the leading motorist-contributing circumstance in pedestrian collisions.
- Put the phone down – Hand-held cell phone use and texting is prohibited for all Washington drivers and may result in a $124 fine for first offense.
- Watch for pedestrians near schools, community centers, and recreation areas – Children aged 1 through 19 are most "at risk" to be involved in a pedestrian fatality. Senior adults (age 71 or more) make up the other high at-risk age group.
- Drive the posted speed limit – If a driver hits a cyclist or pedestrian at 20 mph or less, there is an estimated 95 percent survival rate compared with much lower rates if the cyclist or pedestrian is struck by vehicles traveling at higher speeds. The extra minutes saved by speeding could cost a life.