Friday, March 9, 2012

Time Change and Driving

Drivers, please be extra cautious after the time change this weekend (2:00 am, March 11, 2012).  Studies suggest that the increase in crashes after a time change are due to the effect that the change has on our body clocks.  While that may be true, I believe an overlooked factor involves the position of the sun.  For example, after a time change, the sun just isn't where you were used to it being on your drive to or from work.  Don't be caught off guard taking a corner or rounding a curve.  Anticipate!!

I am curious to know what the statistics say. For example, after a time change, are the increased number of crashes occuring primarily 1) during daylight hours, 2) in sunny conditions, and 3) during early morning and/or late day hours?

Since the change in sun position is more noticeable at low sun angles, I suspect the change has more of an effect early in the morning and late in the day - during key commute times!

So commuters especially, please be extra cautious if your drive occurs during the first or last hour of daylight.  That's when the sun is most likely to be below your roof line and most likely to interfere with your ability to see the things you need to see such as traffic lights, stop signs, and objects on the road like pedestrians, cyclists, bikers and other vehicles.

Plan ahead.  Have a good pair of sunglasses (polarized) within easy reach and make sure you keep your visor clear (i.e. get rid of the papers, gas receipts and CD's) so you can actually use the visor for its intended use.

Have a quick look in your local paper to see when sunrise and sunset are next week.  Then, make a mental note of when that first and last hour of daylight occur.  If you expect to be driving during either of those periods, be prepared.

E-mail me directly (tables@sunposition.com) if you need sunrise/sunset times for your location.

Cheers, Ralph

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