As Daylight Saving Time ends, experts warn of potential dangers for pedestrians

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This weekend, we'll gain an extra hour of sleep, but we'll also lose an hour of daylight. (KABC)

This weekend, we'll gain an extra hour of sleep, but we'll also lose an hour of daylight.

More darkness makes it difficult for drivers to see people walking, and there are new concerns about a dangerous spike in accidents involving pedestrians.

It's something 26-year-old Olga Salgado thinks about when it gets dark outside. After one of many night shifts, Salgado said she was walking home when a car nearly crushed her.

"Someone was just vrooming," she said. "I was wearing dark clothing and they just didn't see me."

Salgado jumped out of the way, but many pedestrians aren't always able to. Dr. Nicolas Melo is a trauma surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"L.A. County leads the country in auto versus pedestrian deaths," Melo said.

In 2017, Los Angeles county reported 135 pedestrians died in auto related accidents, which is up from 74 just two years earlier.

And with the end of Daylight Saving Time happening on Sunday, Melo fears there may be a dangerous spike.

"It's getting darker and visibility is definitely a factor," he said.

Besides longer periods of darkness, other factors that play a role include population increase, more people walking to public transportation, and driver and pedestrian distraction.

Salgado agrees.

"I tend to listen to music, especially at night. I'm going to lower the volume," she said.

Melo said it's important that both drivers and pedestrians are more aware.

"If we take the extra second to look around, take our headphones out of our ears, wear more visible clothing and maybe even walk carrying a flashlight," he said.

Precautions help, but how about eliminating the time change? On Election Day, Californians will vote on Prop 7, which would establish yearround Daylight Saving Time.

A 2004 study estimated it could save the lives of more than 170 pedestrians a year.

Regardless, Melo said the best way to prevent pedestrian accidents is to be more vigilant.

"It just comes down to being safe and visible and not being distracted," he said.

Salgado is taking the advice to heart.

"I'll probably be wearing brighter clothing," she said. "I have to be the one to take precautions."
Related Topics:
healthpedestriansroad safetydaylight saving timeCircle of HealthsafetyLos Angeles County
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