MDOT: Road Users Should Heed Seasonal Time Change

Michiganders travelling the roads next week are being advised to be extra cautious due to the fall time change.

Clocks will be wound back an hour on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 a.m. to mark the end of daylight saving time. In anticipation of this time shift, the Michigan Department of Transportation is asking road users to be mindful of the changing light patterns.

The agency warns that the decrease in daylight hours could make it harder for motorists to spot cyclists, school children and others out walking after dark. Glare from the sun may also pose a challenge to drivers in the morning and afternoon hours. MDOT suggests they keep a pair of sunglasses in their vehicles to shield their vision.

In addition, bicyclists can make the roads safer for themselves and others at night by remembering to use reflectors and lights.

"While the weather may still be nice enough to lure pedestrians and bicyclists outdoors, motorists need to be extra careful to compensate for the abrupt change in the amount of daylight during the days following the time change," State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle said in a release. "We want everyone using the roads to be safe this fall."

Although the seasonal change presents special challenges to road users, it’s important keep an eye out for bicyclists year round since some commuters travel by bike even during Michigan’s frigid winter months.

The dangers the road poses to those on bikes have been especially evident in Detroit over the last month-and-a-half. During this time three cyclists -- an eight-year-old boy, a Slow Roller named Hal Williams, and an unidentified man hit in Southwest Detroit -- have been killed as a result of vehicle collisions.

According to the latest statistics available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 24 bicyclists were killed by vehicle crashes in Michigan in 2011, down from 29 the previous year. The locations of many of these 2011 crashes can be viewed on an interactive NHTSA Map.

Wayne County had four fatal bicycle accidents that year, the most in the state. It was followed by Monroe and Oakland Counties, which both had three.

Vehicle collisions killed 138 pedestrians in Michigan in 2011, the NHTSA site reports, 10 more deaths than in 2010.

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