The end of daylight savings time in November has brought about a darker commute home for many New Yorkers. Because pedestrian safety in the evening hours is the most perilous from November to March, officials across New York City are again launching several initiatives to promote safe commutes for both pedestrians and drivers.
The Dusk and Darkness Initiative, now in its third year and part of the larger Vision Zero campaign, promotes enforcement and education for pedestrian safety during the fall and winter. It has proven to be successful. Before the first initiative kicked off in 2016, severe pedestrian-involved crashes increased by nearly 40 percent in the dark evening hours of the fall and winter. In 2017, pedestrian fatalities decreased from 30 to 17.
Promoting pedestrian safety in the fall and winter
Limited visibility and glaring lights, among other distractions, lead to a more dangerous environment for pedestrian commuters across the country. While pedestrian deaths and injuries are decreasing in New York City, it is important to continue improving the trend.
The behavior of distracted or reckless drivers may be out of your control as a pedestrian but there are several steps you can take to stay safe in the darker evening hours:
- Obey traffic laws and signals. While it may seem obvious, crossing at crosswalks and adhering to walk signals greatly enhances your safety.
- Avoid distracted walking. Using your phone while crossing the street, whether you are talking, texting or on social media, can cause you to let your guard down.
- Be vigilant. Be aware that drivers have limited visibility. Use extra caution, walk facing traffic and do all you can to ensure you are visible to drivers.
Guarding against a personal injury
Many New Yorkers commute by walking in some way to work. Whether it’s walking several streets from the subway stop or walking a few blocks from your home to your workplace, commuting as a pedestrian is a reality for many.
Acknowledging that daylight savings time can lead to a more dangerous commute can be helpful. By taking an extra degree of caution, such as waiting a second or two to cross after the light turns at an intersection, you can contribute to your overall safety.