As daylight hours shorten, rules and tips for a safe commute

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

It’s that time of year again: Days are getting shorter, nights longer, the weather colder, and this past weekend, California officially “fell back” to Pacific Standard Time.

While safety is always a priority for Metro, as it gets darker earlier it’s important to exercise a little extra caution when commuting. Please keep the following rules and safety tips in mind when traveling by Metro Rail or Bus:

  • For Metro Rail customers: do not cross the tracks when gates are down, bells are ringing, and/or lights are flashing. This is not a recommendation, it’s the law. You put yourself in grave danger any time you ignore rail crossing signals, and you may be ticketed by transit deputies.
  • When signals indicate it is ok to cross the tracks, remain alert and proceed with care. Don’t assume a train isn’t nearby just because gates are up, lights are off, and you don’t initially hear or see it. Look both ways when crossing the tracks and listen.
  • Exercise caution when using headphones around buses and trains. Music on the go can be fun, but it can also distract you from your immediate surroundings as well as render you more vulnerable to theft. Consider forgoing headphones at night— when vision is reduced, hearing becomes even more important.
  • Horseplay is not permitted at bus stops and rail stations. Always an important rule, but even more vital in hours of low visibility.
  • Skateboarding and biking are not allowed on train platforms. Another prohibited activity made increasingly risky with decreased daylight. Always pick up your skateboard/walk your bike on platforms.
  • Consider wearing visible clothing. Bright colors are easier for drivers, train, and bus operators to spot in the dark. If you just hate bright colored clothing, consider getting a reflective wristband to wear during the evening hours you’re out and about.

Commuting by bike instead? The Street Smarts Guide available on the Metro Bike page contains tips about riding in rain and darkness.

For many Angelenos, driving after dark is so routine that it’s hard to believe fatalities on the road triple from day to night – yet it does, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Fine tune your car for optimum nighttime performance and learn strategies for safe night driving at the DMV or Popular Mechanics.

However you commute this Fall and Winter, Metro thanks you for your caution and wishes you a safe journey!