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DMV News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Media Contact: Sunni Brown
Department of Motor Vehicles
(804) 367-6834

DMV Reminds Drivers and Pedestrians of Seasonal Safety Hazards
Shorter Days and Longer Nights this Fall and Winter Create Dangers

RICHMOND - The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is reminding drivers and pedestrians of the increased dangers associated with late fall and early winter. Now that Daylight Savings Time has ended, days are shorter and nights are longer. Night driving can lead to safety hazards for motorists and pedestrians.

"It can be difficult to drive at twilight as your eyes adjust to increasing darkness," said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "Vision is so important to reaction time. After sundown, vision is limited. Depth perception, color recognition and peripheral vision are compromised, so drivers and pedestrians should be extra alert."

Data shows that 42 percent (32) of pedestrian fatalities in Virginia during 2012 occurred in the fall and early winter months (October through December).

Additional statistics related to pedestrian fatalities between the months of October through December between 2010 and 2012 include the following:

  • 39 percent were the result of not crossing at an intersection.
  • 49 percent occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.
  • 40 percent involved alcohol.

DMV offers the following tips to help drivers and walkers stay safe during low light and dark conditions:

Pedestrians

  • Wear proper clothing.
    When walking or running during low light conditions or at night, wear light colored reflective clothing and carry a flashlight to make yourself more visible to drivers.
  • Use a crosswalk and walk against traffic.
    Not crossing at an intersection or crosswalk is a leading cause of pedestrian fatalities. Cross at a well lit crosswalk whenever available. When walking or running, make sure you walk or run against traffic so you can see traffic coming toward you. Remember, even though you can see the vehicles, the drivers may NOT be able to see you.
  • Don't walk after consuming alcohol.
    Drinking and walking can be very dangerous. Walking while impaired increases your chances of being struck.
  • Don't walk or run distracted.
    When walking or running, always be attentive to your surroundings. Talking on the phone, texting, listening to music or participating in any distracting behavior can be very dangerous when sharing the roadways.

Drivers

  • Turn on your headlights at sunset.
    As soon as light begins to fade, turn on your headlights to make your vehicle more visible to others. You must use headlights from sunset to sunrise.
  • Scan the road.
    Always scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for potential pedestrians.
  • Yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
    Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing.
  • Don't drive distracted.
    Always be attentive when behind the wheel. Do not text, or participate in any distracting behaviors when driving.
  • Never drive impaired.
    Never drive after consuming alcohol.
  • Always be alert before backing up.
    Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians before backing up, especially small children.
  • Be cautious when driving.
    Always be prepared to stop for pedestrians.
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