Time change linked to uptick in traffic-related fatalities

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Officials warn that now is the time for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists to be aware of an increased risk of accidents because of the time change.

"Last week you may have been going to work or coming from work in the twilight hours and daylight hours and now it might be dark when you're coming home and you need to be more vigilant paying more attention so we don't have a major pedestrian injury accident or crash," Sergeant Alan Hollingsworth of the Reno Police Department, says.

Across the Silver State, the Office of Traffic Safety reports that there are an average of 25 traffic-related fatalities in November and 26 in December. The office says it has been increasing over the last 15 years.

Experts say it's crucial for pedestrians and bicyclists to make themselves as visible as possible.

"Just because you're in the crosswalk does not mean you're totally safe, and be sure you're making contact with the drivers to let them know that you're there and so that you identify they see you and are stopping for you," Hollingsowrth says.

Plus, when the sun is rising and setting, drivers can't always see those walking or riding bikes.

"If you're going straight into the sun, cars can't see you whatsoever, so normally it's an hour later, so make sure you're way on the side of the road," Rich Staley, owner of Great Basin Bicycles, says.

Staley says there are plenty of reflective items cyclists can purchase so drivers can see them in the dark.

"High-vis jackets, white helmets, headlights, you know tail-lights as well, and the brighter and flashier they are the better chance you're going to have of being seen," he says.

Staley says cyclists need to be hyper-aware during commute times.

"Never pass inside cars if they're stopped at a stop sign you're gone and with the lowing light, the less light it's hard to see you altogether. And never pull inside the right hand side of a car because they're going to make a right hand turn and take you out," he says.

Law enforcement also warns against driving if you're sleepy.

"Drowsy driving is definitely impaired driving and you should use caution if driving while tired for sure," Hollingsowrth says.

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