OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Experts with AAA Oklahoma are urging pedestrians and drivers to stay vigilant days after we move the clocks forward for daylight saying time, saying the time change increases pedestrian and driving dangers.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, Oklahoma City was ranked as the third deadliest city in the country for pedestrians.
"As we adjust to different periods of darkness with Sunday’s daylight saving time change, motorists and pedestrians need to take extra precautions as risks increase," said Leslie Gamble, manager or public and government affairs at AAA Oklahoma.
Gamble said 75 percent of crashes involving pedestrians happen in the dark.
"Dark is in the early morning now with this daylight-saving time. We have now a good hour more than we used to. We have this week and weeks to come of darkness," Gamble said.
According to NHTSA, 76 percent of pedestrians are hit in areas such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, median/crossing islands and other non-traffic areas.
Gamble said that puts walkers, joggers or those getting to school at risk.
"You've got to be extra careful and watch for vehicles in parking lots, along the streets and especially where there's a lot of entertainment districts, anywhere you might be crossing," Gamble said.
Gamble said if you're out at dark, you should always wear light-colored clothing and stay off your phones.
"Phones are one of the major things we believe is a factor in the increase. We've seen a 45 percent increase in fatality due to pedestrians being hit by cars in the last nine years," Gamble said.
You should also stay alert and avoid alcohol consumption.
"With alcohol, there's slowed processing of information and slowed reaction times. You've got to be personally responsible whether walking or driving," said Gamble.
According to NHTSA, in 2016, 28 people in Oklahoma City died in a pedestrian crash.
Across the country, the NHTSA reports, in 2017, 5,977 pedestrians were killed in crashes. In 2016, 5,987 pedestrians were killed in crashes.
Gamble said according to studies, that number this year is expected to rise.
"We have a long ways to go before we curb this problem," said Gamble.
For more safety tips for drivers and pedestrians, click here.