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News Blog: Travel with care as Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 1

News article

Darker evenings bring greater crash risk

Published

(Oct. 29, 2020) Clocks move back one hour on Sunday, Nov. 1, which means people traveling in the early evening hours will experience darker conditions than before.

Dark conditions are linked to increased crash risk, especially for pedestrians. Portland crash data show an uptick in pedestrian crashes in fall and winter months, peaking at an average of more than 250 pedestrian crashes each December (see graph below).

Pedestrian safety is a focus of our Vision Zero work to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. We are taking a number of actions to protect pedestrians and other travelers.

People driving collide with pedestrians more frequently in fall and winter in Portland. (Data: Oregon Department of Transportation, 2006-2015)
People driving collide with pedestrians more frequently in fall and winter in Portland. (Data: Oregon Department of Transportation, 2006-2015)

People traveling on Portland streets can reduce the risk of getting hurt or hurting others by:

  • Traveling at or below the speed limit,
  • Always turning on headlights,
  • Keeping windshields clean,
  • Avoiding distractions, and
  • Doing your best to be visible when traveling outside of a motor vehicle.

People over age 60 may have a hard time driving safely at night, and may want to consider limiting themselves to daytime driving, if possible.

Street lighting investments help people see each other

Lighting on both sides of wide streets, visible here on SE Division Street looking west of 85th Avenue, helps eliminate dark spots. Photo by PBOT.
Lighting on both sides of wide streets, visible here on SE Division Street looking west of 85th Avenue, helps eliminate dark spots. Photo by PBOT.

We continue to invest in street lighting to improve safety in dark conditions.

Our lighting guidelines call for consistent illumination across and along major streets, with lower lighting levels on smaller streets. Infill lighting combined with tweaks to existing lights support safety while conserving energy.

Many of the highest-crash streets in East Portland are especially deficient in lighting, resulting in patchy illumination.

Recent and upcoming projects that improve street lighting include:

  • SE 136th Avenue, full lighting upgrades from Division Street to Foster Road (in construction)
  • SE 162nd Avenue, upgrades at new marked crossings from Stark Street to Powell Boulevard (spring 2021)
  • E Burnside Street, upgrades at intersections from 16th to 26th avenues (completed summer 2020)
  • NE Columbia Boulevard, full upgrades from Bank Street to Macrum Avenue (in construction)
  • SE Division Street, upgrades at new signalized crossings from 82nd to 172nd avenues (2021)
  • NE Glisan Street, full upgrades from 82nd to 162nd avenues (2021)
  • SE Powell Boulevard, full upgrades from 99th to 174th avenues (in construction)

As we work to improve lighting on Portland streets, please take extra care when traveling in dark conditions.


Get a free yard sign to promote safer speeds

Vision Zero Yard Sign that reads "It's Time to Slow Down, Portland"

For a limited time, we are offering free yard signs with contact-free delivery to your door.

Choose from several safety messages in English or Spanish and one of our volunteers will get the sign to your home.

There are a limited number of signs remaining, order yours today!

We are offering these signs because community members have indicated there has been more speeding and dangerous driving behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are distributing the signs to encourage safe behavior at a time when more people are out walking and rolling for exercise, errands, and self-care. 

It's important to me that people drive slowly through our neighborhood because I have a young daughter and I want to feel comfortable walking around our neighborhood together."

-Parent, South Burlingame Neighborhood