Monday, December 2, 2013

Sun Glare While Driving – November 2013

The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving and traffic safety in general. They were derived from our twitter feed ( or @SunPosition).

Commuters, be extra careful next few days since the sun has 'moved' and collisions increase after the time change.

Toronto commuters, sunrise and sunset this week of Nov 4 +/- 7am and 5pm.

Toronto commuters, for the week of Nov 4 be prepared for worst sun glare conditions 7-8am and 4-5pm.

When driving into sun glare, leave extra space - contributing factor in rear end collisions > Police: Sun’s glare ‘contributing factor’ in Interstate 79 accidents | The Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, WV - Traffic backed up on Interstate 79 southbound late Sunday afternoon after the glare of the sun prompted several drivers to slow down, causing three accidents, including two chain-reaction rear-end collisions and one rollover in which no one was injured.

The first accident was toned by Marion County Central Communications at 4:48 p.m. and was covered by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. The second set of accidents was toned at 5:01 p.m. and was handled by the West Virginia State Police with the assistance of the sheriff’s department.

All accidents took place between mile markers 137 and 136 before the exit to the Gateway Connector in Fairmont.

“We got several witness statements that were not involved in the collision who saw what happened,” said Trooper L.L. Rohrbaugh of the West Virginia State Police. “All witnesses and drivers said the glare from the sun caused motorists to slow down suddenly. Drivers couldn’t see that people were braking in front of them, which is what caused the rear-end collisions. So the glare from the sun is a contributing factor.”


Take care driving, walking and cycling with earlier nightfall, AAA warns | Lohud Westchester Blog

GARDEN CITY, NY - With clocks “falling back” this weekend, lighting conditions will change drastically during commutes, creating difficulties as road users adjust to the new normal. “People traveling home from school and work will encounter less light beginning next week as sundown will take place an hour earlier,” said AAA New York manager of media relations, Robert Sinclair Jr. “Traveling at dusk when there is less light lowers depth perception, the ability to recognize colors and peripheral vision. We all need to be very careful, especially during the first week after the time change,” Sinclair said.

There are three times more traffic deaths at night compared to daytime, according to the National Safety Council. A driver depends on vision for maximum reaction time. Adjusting to earlier nighttime driving in the week after the return to standard time is critical.

AAA New York recommends that drivers:

Be prepared for reduced visibility.

Slow down and be extra alert in residential areas and school zones and watch for children, pedestrians and cyclists.

To see and be seen, make sure all vehicle lights are working, and use them.

Pedestrians need to be aware of the difficulty drivers will have seeing them. They should:

Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.

Do not cross between parked vehicles.

Don’t jaywalk; cross at the corner traffic light.

Walk on the sidewalk, if there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic.

Dawn will also take place earlier. Morning sun can reflect off windows and metallic surfaces. All road users should be aware that drivers have a tough time seeing early in the morning as they fight sun glare.

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NHTSA Offers Some Important Safety Tips as Daylight Saving Time Ends | NHTSA

WASHINGTON, DC – As Daylight Saving Time ends on November 3, and clocks are turned back, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cautions motorists and pedestrians to be more alert as the potential for harm increases as darkness falls earlier.

NHTSA offers the following tips for motorist and pedestrian safety during the shorter days of autumn and winter:


  • Slow down. During the evening hours, you need more time to see a pedestrian in your path.
  • Keep in mind that pedestrians who are wearing headphones, hats or earmuffs may not hear your vehicle as it approaches.
  • Keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean. Make sure your defrosters and windshield wipers are working properly and that washer fluid is replaced as needed.
  • Carry a flashlight or attach reflective materials – such as fluorescent tape – to clothing, backpacks, purses, and briefcases. These materials reflect light from headlights back to drivers, making it easier to see you.
  • Don't depend on the traffic signal to protect you. Motorists may be distracted, especially when adjusting to the nighttime travel environment.
  • Avoid jaywalking and crossing between parked vehicles. Crosswalks offer a safer alternative.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If you must walk on the street, face traffic.
  • When crossing the street, look left-right-left for cars from the curb.
  • Do not cross the street if a car is coming and use a crosswalk if available.
  • Watch out for cars at every driveway and intersection.
  • Stay completely focused on the road and avoid distractions.

NHTSA also cautions that the clock adjustment could catch some drivers by surprise - with sun glare or darkness occurring during different parts of their familiar driving routine. Also since sleep patterns are affected, the agency warns drivers to be aware of their need for rest and the effects that a loss of sleep can have on driving attention and fatigue.

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Not all headlights are auto. Too many cars with no tail lights on at night. Know your car ppl. Be seen from behind.

Contrary to popular belief, AWD doesn't help you steer or stop better. It only lets you accelerate better - not exactly a safety feature.

Driver, 22, blinded by sun knocked over and killed 82-year-old lollipop man | London Evening Standard

LONDON, UK - A woman caused the death of an 82-year-old lollipop man who was "scooped up" on to her car and thrown into the road after she was in collision with him having been blinded by bright sunlight, a jury was told.

Lauren Paul, of Ramblers Way, Waterlooville, Hampshire, denies a charge of causing the death of Raymond Elsmore by careless driving, whom she collided with as she drove to work at a sixth form college…

Mr Elsmore had worked for about 10 years helping children at Queens Inclosure Primary School in Waterlooville.

Matthew Lawson, prosecuting at Portsmouth Crown Court, described how Mr Elsmore had been escorting a pedestrian, Toni Ponting, who was pregnant at the time, across Tempest Avenue, Waterlooville, at about 3.05am on Wednesday, December 5 last year when the accident happened.

He said that Mr Elsmore had been stood in the southbound carriageway holding up his lollipop sign when the Nissan Micra driven by Paul was in collision with him.

Mr Lawson said: "At that point he was struck from behind by a Nissan Micra driven by the defendant, Lauren Paul.

"Tragically Mr Elsmore was seriously injured in the accident and later passed away in hospital as a result of the injuries he received."

He said that Ms Ponting "saw the Nissan Micra approach from behind, instead of slowing or stopping, it ran right into Mr Elsmore.

"Mr Elsmore was scooped up on to the car which shattered the windscreen, he was thrown forward on to the road as the Nissan Micra braked and stopped."

Mr Lawson said that when Ms Ponting asked Paul what had happened, she replied that she couldn't see.

Another person who arrived shortly afterwards, heard Paul, who was hysterical, say that the sun was in her eyes.

The court heard that the defendant added: "I didn't see him, I would have stopped if I had seen him."

Paul was also heard to say that her windscreen had misted up and she had been trying to demist it, Mr Lawson said.

Mr Lawson said that Paul told a police officer: "I was driving along the road, the sun was low and my screen was starting to mist.

"I pulled my visor down and heard a bang. I never saw the guy from first to last."

Mr Elsmore was taken by air ambulance to Southampton General Hospital where he died of chest and head injuries suffered in the accident.

Mr Lawson said: "Sadly the injuries were incompatible with survival."

Mr Lawson added that the police sergeant "noted that the southbound carriageway was direct into the sun which was very low and blinding."

During a police interview, Paul gave a statement saying that she was travelling to South Downs College where she works.

Mr Lawson said that she told police that: "She had left the house to drive back to work, she was not in a hurry and was feeling alert and not stressed. She was familiar with the route having travelled it many times before."

He continued: "However as she was driving down Tempest Avenue, she was driving directly into the sun which was low in the sky, so she had slowed down, she believed her speed was about 25 mph.

"She had put the driver's sun visor down and taken steps to adjust her driving position."

He added: "There was suddenly a bang and something seemed to hit her windscreen, at this point she performed an emergency stop and saw the body roll down the bonnet and land on the road."

He said that she said she was in "severe shock" after the accident and added that hearing of Mr Elsmore's death had a "traumatic effect" on her.

He said that she told officers: "She was desperately sorry for what had happened to the gentleman and the loss his family had suffered.

"She couldn't say where the gentleman had come from and hadn't seen him him, possibly she had been blinded by the sun for a second or two in the approach to the accident."

Mr Lawson said an accident investigator, who visited the crash scene, experienced how the bright sun had the effect of "blending in" with the colour of a colleague's high visibility jacket similar to that worn by Mr Elsmore at the time of the accident.

Investigations established she had been travelling between 21mph and 28mph.

But Mr Lawson said that the Highway Code stated that a driver should "slow down or if necessary stop" if dazzled by bright sunlight.

He added: "The defendant's driving at the time fell below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver in all the circumstances."

Ms Ponting said that she had arrived early to pick up her child from the school.

She told the court that Mr Elsmore had not seen the car approaching it before it struck him without slowing down.

She said: "My blood was boiling, at the time being pregnant and hormonal, I was enraged and confused.

"I walked across the road towards Ray and I looked at him. I was very angry."

She said that the driver was "shaken, very upset, distraught".

She asked the driver: "Could you not see him?" She said that Paul replied that she couldn't see.

She admitted swearing at her and added: "I told her she shouldn't be driving."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

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Sun glare blamed in U.S. 68 crash | Dayton Daily News


XENIA TWP, OH - A driver who slammed into the back of a turning vehicle on U.S. 68 this morning told Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers that she didn't see the vehicle in front of her because the sun was in her eyes.

The car that was struck was waiting to turn onto Stone Road when the collision occurred at about 9:15 a.m.

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Sun glare worst for drivers during first and last hour of light.

Toronto drivers, sun glare worst this week (Nov 20 ) before 8:18am and after 3:48pm.

Don’t expect answers soon on bus-train crash, says coroner | The Ottawa Citizen

The investigation into the September crash continues.

OTTAWA, ON — A decision on whether to hold an inquest into September’s deadly bus-train collision is “far into the future” and dependent on the results of a federal Transportation Safety Board investigation, according to a supervising coroner.

In her first public statement since shortly after the accident, regional supervising coroner Dr. Louise McNaughton-Filion said Tuesday the investigation being led by the TSB is proving complex and is unlikely to be complete for “many months.”

“We meet quite frequently (with TSB) and communicate on a regular basis,” she said. “The investigation is progressing and we are learning more each day.”

Days after the Sept. 18 crash, TSB investigators brought three double-decker buses equipped with cameras and brake sensors to the crash site in an effort to capture what driver Dave Woodard saw and did as he drove toward the level crossing around 8:50 a.m., his bus packed with commuters.

The collision sheared off the front of the bus and killed Woodard as well as public servants Michael Bleakney and Karen Krzyzewski, Carleton University students Connor Boyd and Kyle Nash, and Rob More, who worked at IBM.

More than 30 people were injured.

TSB investigations typically work through three phases: The accident-scene phase, followed by data analysis then report writing.

The TSB investigates railway, marine, pipeline and aviation accidents and incidents to draw lessons that might improve transportation safety. It does not assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

McNaughton-Filion refused to discuss specifics of the crash investigation but said the province’s chief coroner won’t decide on whether a public inquest is warranted until the TSB work is finished.

The chief coroner will typically call a “discretionary” inquest if any of five fundamental questions can’t be answered: Who died; where they died, when they died, how they died and by what means?

If the chief coroner orders an inquest into the bus-train crash it will be more likely to satisfy other general inquest criteria, including the need to focus public attention on preventable deaths, correct public misinformation, or to spur public and private organizations into corrective action.

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Cool mornings can result in fogged/iced up windshields. Clear them before driving off…

…plus sun glare = blind.

Sun glare cited as factor > Mayor Nenshi worries about protecting pedestrians | The Calgary Journal


CALGARY, AB - With Alberta boasting the third lowest traffic fatality rate in Canada, it's a major concern that our quota of six pedestrian fatalities a year due to motor vehicle accidents has almost been reached within the past three months. Four citizens have been killed between August and October and though not fatal, one toddler was seriously injured after a hit-and-run in the Marlborough Mall parking lot.

Kimberley Nelson, president of Bike Calgary, released a statement earlier this November expressing concerns about "victim blaming," and Calgarians needing to be more "mindful of the fact that many pedestrians, such as children and persons with impaired mobility, might not be able to process or navigate complex traffic situations."

While news of pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents remains troubling, data provided by the City of Calgary states that "based on the three year rolling average between 2002-2004 and 2009-2011, the fatality collision rate has declined by 45 per cent." Furthermore, only 2.3 per cent of pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are involved in collisions in Calgary.

Unfortunately, due to the high vulnerability of those travelling on foot or by bike, this sector of the population still "accounts for 20.5 per cent of collision causalities." But whether it's the victim's or the driver's fault when a fatal accident occurs, there are still more factors to consider.

According to information provided by the Calgary Police Service and the City of Calgary, potential contributors to pedestrian-motor vehicle accidents include:

  • Sun glare
  • Early darkening in winter months
  • Construction and road obstructions
  • Pedestrian negligence
  • Poor crossing conditions
  • Distracted drivers
  • Visual impairments

In December 2011, approximately 60 people were hit by motor vehicles. This was a drastic increase compared to the May 2011, where fewer than 20 pedestrians were involved in a collision with a motor vehicle. This in part indicates these factors — sun glare, early darkening and visual impairments— are more at play during the winter when, for example, crosswalks tend to blend in with snow and ice on the roads.

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No kidding. RT @SarahWallaceTV: Sunglare big time! Careful driving @weatherabc7 @Evansweather

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Parents blame sun glare for crash that injured teens | The Idaho Statesman

MERIDIAN, ID - A Meridian mother says it's a "miracle" that four teenagers who were hurt in a Saturday afternoon crash on Idaho 55 suffered only minor injuries.

The wreck happened when 17-year-old Makaylah Griffin pulled her Nissan Xterra onto the roadside near Horseshoe Bend Hill to switch drivers. Police say that the teen did not use a turnout, and part of the car was overhanging the highway when it was hit from behind.

But her mother, Jana Griffin, said the teen made the right decision.

"The sun was shining so bright in their eyes going up that road they could hardly see," she said. "She got nervous, being 17, and she pulled over to that right-hand side feeling like that would be the safest thing."

Makaylah turned on her blinker and hazard lights and asked her passenger, 18-year-old Christian McIntosh of Meridian, if he would take a turn driving, Jana Griffin said. McIntosh was outside the vehicle preparing to get into the driver's seat when the car was hit from behind by a van driven by 71-year-old Edsel Martin of Caldwell…

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Fitting name for crash site > Multiple Vehicles Collide Tuesday Evening on Bangs Hill | The Brownwood News


BROWNWOOD, TX - A blinding sunset resulted in a multiple vehicle, chain reaction accident on Bangs Hill in Brownwood Tuesday evening, according to law enforcement officials.

Shortly after 5:00 p.m., four vehicles were involved in three chain reaction collisions. According to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Martin Molotsky, the driver of a Ford pickup was traveling at an extremely slow speed up the westbound side of Bangs Hill, (1200 block of West US Hwy 67), because he was blinded by the sun. A Chevy pickup pulling a large barbeque pit on a trailer came up behind him and rear-ended him in a very minor accident, according to Molotsky. Shortly after this accident, a small crossover vehicle came upon the scene and swerved, barely scraping her vehicle’s front quarter panel and hub cap against the side of the trailer that the Chevy pickup was pulling causing minor damage.

The driver of the Chevy stated that he decided to return to his pickup and as he sat waiting for law enforcement, a black Ford pickup came from behind and hit the trailer, driving up onto the trailer causing major damage to both his vehicle and the truck and trailer. The black Ford came to a stop entangled on the trailer and the bed of the Chevy pickup, pictured above.

The driver of the Chevy, a Texas State Guard member who works at Camp Bowie stated that he had just taken the barbeque pit to work to help cook their Thanksgiving meal earlier in the day and was on his way home when the accident occurred.

Although there was significant damage to the two pickups and the barbeque pit, there were no injuries to any of the occupants of the four vehicles involved according to emergency responders on scene. Officials said that the glaring sun was the cause of all of the accidents…

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RT @yasacanada: NHTSA Data Confirms Traffic Fatalities Increased In 2012 | YASA

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released the 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data indicating that highway deaths increased to 33,561 in 2012, which is 1,082 more fatalities than in 2011. The majority of the increase in deaths, 72 percent, occurred in the first quarter of the year. Most of those involved were motorcyclists and pedestrians.

While the newly released data announced today marks the first increase since 2005, highway deaths over the past five years continue to remain at historic lows. Fatalities in 2011 were at the lowest level since 1949 and even with this slight increase in 2012, we are still at the same level of fatalities as 1950. Early estimates on crash fatalities for the first half of 2013 indicate a decrease in deaths compared to the same timeframe in 2012.

"Highway deaths claim more than 30,000 lives each year and while we've made substantial progress over the past 50 years, it's clear that we have much more work to do," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "As we look to the future, we must focus our efforts to tackle persistent and emerging issues that threaten the safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians across the nation."

While Americans drove approximately the same amount of miles in 2012 as in the previous year, the new FARS data released today showed a 3.3 percent increase in fatalities from the previous year. The final 2012 numbers confirm preliminary quarterly reports issued by the agency.

Other key 2012 statistics include:
■Fatalities among pedestrians increased for the third consecutive year (6.4 percent increase over 2011). The data showed the large majority of pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas, at non-intersections, at night and many involved alcohol.
■Motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the third consecutive year (7.1 percent increase over 2011). Ten times as many riders died not wearing a helmet in states without a universal helmet law than in states with such laws.
■Large-truck occupant fatalities increased for the third consecutive year (8.9 percent over 2011).
■Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers increased 4.6 percent in 2012, taking 10,322 lives compared to 9,865 in 2011. The majority of those crashes involved drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or higher – nearly double the legal limit.
■The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328, while an estimated 421,000 people were injured, a 9 percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011. NHTSA is just beginning to identify distraction-related accidents, and is continuing work to improve the way it captures data to better quantify and identify potential trends in this area.
■Nighttime seat belt use continues to be a challenge. In nighttime crashes in 2012, almost two-thirds of the people that died were unrestrained.
"As a public health and safety agency, any increase in the number of deaths is cause for concern. While we're seeing some unfortunate trends, we're also seeing progress in some parts of the country," said NHTSA Administrator David L. Strickland. "We will continue to work closely with our federal, state and local partners to change the way motorists behave on our roadways and build public awareness of key issues that have the potential to save many lives."

Thirteen states and Washington D.C. experienced reductions in overall traffic fatalities, led by Mississippi (48 fewer), New Jersey (38), Georgia (34), Alabama (30) and Utah (26). In addition, 18 states and Washington D.C. showed decreases in drunk driving deaths. New Jersey had the greatest decrease (30 fewer) followed by Colorado (27), Utah (20), Oklahoma (17) and Virginia (17).
■View the final 2012 data
■View the preliminary 2013 data

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Pay attention, Ottawa cops tell cyclists, walkers | The Ottawa Sun

Ottawa cops tell cyclists, pedestrians t owatch out at intersections

OTTAWA, ON - Far too often, police say pedestrians and cyclists simply aren’t paying attention.

And the consequences can be deadly.

“They’re busy, they’re thinking about other things, and I guess they’re rushing to try to get across, and there’s cars coming all the time,” said pedestrian Kealey Crossan, who admittedly was wearing earbuds while walking downtown.

“You hear about this all the time, people getting hit for no reason. But there’s a reason, because they’re not paying attention.”

And police agree.

Even as several officers took up a spot at Bank St. and Laurier Ave. this week to educate people on the rules of the road, there was no shortage of rule-breakers during the busy lunch hour rush.

The sheer amount of collisions involving pedestrian and cyclists in his area has frustrated Ottawa police Insp. Chris Rheaume so much, he mapped out the worst intersections in the area he oversees.

And he wants to see more signage at problematic intersections.

“The majority of people are being inattentive, whether they’re on their phone, listening to their MP3 player, listening to music, reading, doing whatever, you see it all the time,” said Rheaume, who oversees Central District, which includes the Byward Market and Centretown areas.

“Mostly, it’s being inattentive, and then the rest is proceeding when the (traffic light) hand is flashing.”

Last year alone, four cyclists and six pedestrians were killed in the city.

But there were more than 600 collisions involving both in 2012 — and the vast majority are preventable.

“You’ve got to be aware of your surroundings all the time,” said Rheaume.

“You can’t be distracted. You can’t have your iPhone in, you can’t be texting and riding your bike, you can’t be listening to music. You have to pay attention to what you’re doing, even as you’re walking.”

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Cheers, Ralph

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