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SALT LAKE CITY — The time change to daylight saving time may leave people feeling a little more tired in the morning, but drivers should be aware of the added dangers of driving in the darker morning hours, officials say.
Monday morning, officials were warning drivers to use extra caution as they commute before the 7:45 a.m. dawn. Pedestrians, including children walking to school, as well as wildlife, are at a greater danger during these early morning hours.
“Obviously with the time change, it’s darker in the morning. We just wanted to alert drivers to be careful as they’re driving,” Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said.
Pedestrians can also help increase their visibility by wearing light clothing or reflective patches and removing earbuds or headphones, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises. Pedestrians should only cross the street at protected crosswalks, making eye contact with drivers of nearby vehicles while crossing and carrying a flashlight or turning on their cellphone screen. While walking on the sidewalk is safest, if there is no sidewalk, stay on the side facing traffic.
Parents of small children can help keep their children safe by teaching them to use traffic signals and crosswalks, walk facing traffic, put down their devices and to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street, according to safekids.org. Parents can also help children find the safest route to school.
Division of Wildlife Resources told drivers to keep a watchful eye for deer and other wildlife entering the roadway as they return to their bedding sites. When driving in rural areas, drivers should slow down and watch ahead and the sides of the road, according to watchfordeerutah.com. Use high beams if cars are not approaching from the opposite direction. On multi-lane roads, keep to the inside lane.
"Deer feed actively during the night and they continue feeding into the early morning hours," DWR wrote in a release. "Having the sun come up one hour later in the morning, when many people are traveling to work and the deer are still feeding, can spell trouble."
If a deer is in the roadway and a driver does not have time to stop, DWR reminds drivers not to swerve, which could cause a rollover.