Fall is a dangerous time of the year for evening commuters

WASHINGTON — Fall is one of the most dangerous times of year on the roads, with more accidents between drivers and pedestrians. And it’s because visibility is working against both groups of commuters.

Study after study shows a spike in pedestrian-related accidents in late October, as standard time sets in and it’s darker during the evening drive.

Data from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments shows there were 147 pedestrian accidents in the metro region in September 2011. In October, the number jumps to more than 200.

“As soon as it starts getting dark earlier, the collisions are going up,” says Jeff Dunkel, who manages Montgomery County’s pedestrian safety program.

“We find that the most dangerous time during the day is between 5 and 8 when everyone is coming home, when people are out and about doing their shopping.”

The onus is on pedestrians and drivers alike to not cut corners with safety, Dunkel says.

He recommends pedestrians wear light-reflective clothing and outerwear this time of year. Also, drivers need to stay at speed and look for commuters on foot.

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