Fall back with safety tips

By Lois Bentivegna

On Sunday morning, November 5, we will turn our clocks back one hour for the end of Daylight Saving Time. Many of us may be overjoyed to get an additional hour of sleep, but that one hour time change could take more than a day for your internal clock to adjust. Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit tired and groggy the first week or so in November.

Studies have proven that accidents increase the first week following Daylight Saving Time. Fatigue can pose a number of safety risks both at home and in the workplace, especially when driving. Here are some precautions to take during this time and all year round.

Darkness: Even with high-beam headlights on, visibility is limited to about 500 feet (250 feet with normal headlights) creating less time to react to something in the road, especially when driving at higher speeds.

  • Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time
  • Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean
  • Dim your dashboard
  • Look away from oncoming lights If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective
  • Clean the windshield to eliminate streaks

Rush Hour: Evening rush hour (between 4 and 7 p.m. weekdays) is a dangerous time to drive due to crowded roadways and drivers eager to get home after work. In winter, it’s dark during rush hour, compounding an already dangerous driving situation.

  • Don’t be an impatient driver; slow down
  • Stay in your lane and beware of drivers who dart from lane to lane
  • Even though the route may be familiar, don’t go on autopilot; stay alert
  • In unfamiliar areas, consult a map before you go and memorize your route
  • Don’t touch your phone, eat, drink or do other things that are distracting

Setting the clocks back is also a good reminder to conduct some seasonal safety checks:

  • Change Batteries – Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms can save your life, but they need to be operational. It’s recommended that we replace the batteries in our smoke and carbon monoxide alarms twice a year and replace the alarms every 10 years, even if they are still operational.
    — For additional information on fire prevention, click here.
    — For additional information on preventing carbon monoxide poisoning, click here.
  • Replace Light Bulbs – While you have the stool or ladder out changing the batteries, why not double up on safety (and energy savings) to check the light bulbs in your house. Now is the time to consider replacing conventional bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs, which could help cut down on your electric bill. For additional information on easy-to-implement energy saving tips, click here
  • Check the First-Aid Kit – With Winter just around the corner, prepare a winter kit for your home and vehicle. Take a moment to check your first aid kit and replace any missing supplies. For additional information, click here.
  • Family Emergency Plan – If an emergency strikes, will your family know what to do? Review your family’s emergency plan, or if you don’t have one, create it. Keep an emergency contact sheet near your phone as well. For additional information, click here.

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