A digital alarm clock. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
A digital alarm clock. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Don’t forget to “fall back” an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, but resetting clocks means there will be increased driving dangers as darkness comes early to the Southland.

But there are also benefits from the semi-annual time change most Americans experience.

Most people know that the end of daylight saving time should be used as a reminder to test smoke-detector batteries, but officials with the Automobile Club of Southern California said Friday there’s something else people might want to check — their headlights.

According to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, replacing or restoring cloudy headlight lenses can double the maximum light intensity, and reduce by 60 percent glare-producing “light scatter.”

But only 20 percent of Americans have performed the headlight service on their vehicles, the study found.

“Now is the time to get your headlight lenses restored or restore them on your own with a do-it-yourself kit found at stores that have an automotive aisle carrying auto supplies,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center. “Cloudy or dirty headlight lenses are not just an aesthetic issue. An annual service of the headlights on older vehicles will increase your nighttime visibility and minimize distracting glare for fellow drivers.”

Auto Club officials also noted that the daylight savings time change — which takes effect at 2 a.m. Sunday — can lead to motorists being drowsier than usual behind the wheel, thanks to a disturbance in sleep patterns combined with the earlier darkness during the evening commute.

Motorists were advised to adjust their driving habits and keep a closer watch for children or other people who will be less visible during the darker drive.

“Before the time change, you may need to check to make sure all vehicle lights are working properly,” said Lorz Villagrana, the Auto Club’s Traffic Safety manager. “When starting your commute, remember to turn on your headlights and then turn them off when you reach your destination.

In addition, motorists should be prepared to face changed conditions during the morning commute,” Villagrana said, noting that the brighter morning sun can create glare when reflected off other vehicles, causing temporary blindness.

—City News Service

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