Daylight Saving, Life Saving

By Haley Burton

November 3, 2011 Updated Nov 3, 2011 at 5:10 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) This weekend ends Daylight Saving time. Remember to turn back your clocks one hour on Sunday.

But there are some timely safety reminders to go with the change.

Daylight Savings Time officially ends at 2 o'clock Sunday morning. With the clock set back, you could also try to enjoy an extra hour of rest.

As you change your clock, Fire Departments remind residents to also change your batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.

"Smoke detectors are huge. They give you a very early warning and they do work," said Daniel Eggleston, Binghamton Fire Marshal.

Eggleston says smoke alarms save lives. He says there should be one installed in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area and on every floor of your home. Changing the batteries should be a priority for your family.

A good practice, Eggleston says, is changing them when you change your clocks.

"With the season a lot of people use it as a time of year to change the batteries on their smoke detectors. Twice a year you should change the battery in your smoke detector to make sure they are working properly," said Eggleston.

Eggleston says you should also get new smoke alarms every ten years.

There are also lithium powered smoke alarms that have non-removable power cells that last for ten years. They can provide a solution to the problem of missing or dead batteries in smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms should also be tested each month, says Eggleston. This involves ensuring it is working by pushing the button on the alarm.

The end of Daylight Saving Time can leave people more at risk to falling asleep at the wheel.

November 6 through 12 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. It's a public awareness campaign to educate drivers about sleep safety.

Studies show that being awake for more than twenty hours results in a impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%.

"It can literally happen in a blink of an eye. You can fall into a micro-sleep in 3 to 4 four seconds without even knowing it and a crash can occur in that time," said Christine Muss, Traffic Safety Coordinator, Broome County Health Department.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 crashes each year.

The following warning signs indicate that it's time to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over:
• Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
• Difficulty keeping daydreams at bay
• Trouble keeping your head up
• Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
• Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
• Missing exits or traffic signs
• Yawning repeatedly
• Feeling restless, irritable or aggressive

Preventing a Fall-Asleep Crash:
• Get a good night's sleep before a long drive.
• Get off the road if you notice any of the warning signs of fatigue.
• Take a nap - find a safe place to take a 15-20 minute nap.
• Consume caffeine that's equivalent to 2 cups of coffee. But remember the effects of caffeine are short-lived.
• Drive with a friend.
• Avoid alcohol and medication that can cause drowsiness.

Earlier nightfall also means more deer are out. PennDOT is urging motorists to use caution on the roads. It says most crashes involving deer happen during this time of year.

Deer are most active during breeding season and between sunset and sunrise.

PennDOT statistics show nearly half of all reported crashes in the last five years involving deer occurred in the months of October and November. It found nearly 77 percent took place between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.

In 2010, there were more than 3,000 crashes statewide involving deer, resulting in more than 600 injuries and eight fatalities.

To reduce the risk of a deer-related crash, motorists should slow down and be especially cautious during morning and evening hours.

PennDOT says if you see one deer crossing the road, there’s a good chance others will follow.

To report a dead deer on state roads, motorists can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

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