Friday, April 4, 2014

Sun Glare While Driving – March 2014

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

And be ready for different sun conditions. MT @ARLnowDOTcom: Daylight Saving Time starts Sunday. AAA warning...

ARLINGTON, VA - Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday (Ed. March 9th), when clocks should “spring forward” one hour. The change will result in an extra hour of daylight in the evening, but will come at the cost of darker mornings and an hour of lost sleep.

AAA Mid-Atlantic warns that the change can leave drivers drowsy on Monday morning.

The automobile association issued the following press release, urging drivers to make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Come Monday morning, many drivers may have lost a spring in their step and may not be fully alert as they travel to work and school.

What’s more, many motorists may now be faced with a darker morning drive or sun glare from a rising, as well as setting sun depending on their commuting times, advises AAA Mid-Atlantic…

AAA Mid-Atlantic recommends people, especially motorists, prepare in advance for the time change by increasing their sleep time in the days ahead and getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday.”…

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Drivers, with the change to DST this weekend, be prepared for totally different sun conditions on your commute next week.

@AmberTraffic  Please warn drivers to be prepared for totally different sun conditions next week after the change to DST this weekend.
@lynngr: Not to mention the equivalent of jetlag, with its attendant brain fuzz. Not a good combo on the roads.
RB: So true, tired plus sun glare not a good combo.

@TPSChrisBoddy: Don't forget, Monday will arrive one hour earlier next week. Happy Friday all! 
RB: You too. And remember it will be darker on your way to work and brighter on your way home. Sunglasses everyone.

@AmberTraffic Toronto sunrise and sunset on March 10th - 7:39 am and 7:18 pm. Be prepared for the change to DST.

1st & last hr of daylight typically worst for sun glare. For Toronto drivers this week (of Mar 10th) that means before 8:35am and after 6:20pm.

Pilots complain of blinding glare from mirrors at huge solar plant in the Mojave Desert | Daily Journal


RIVERSIDE, CA - Pilots flying over the world's largest solar power plant in the Mojave Desert have complained of nearly blinding glare from the sun's reflection off its vast array of mirrors.

Two anonymous complaints were filed with the federal government in August, months before the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System formally opened across roughly 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Friday ( ).

A pilot wrote that it was impossible to look in the direction of the plant because of the intense brightness from the hundreds of thousands of mirrors. An air traffic controller reported receiving daily complaints about the brightness from pilots flying over the solar farm during the late morning and early afternoon. Dozens of daily flights between Southern California and Las Vegas cross the area above or near the solar farm…

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How to stay out of the paddy wagon... don't drink and drive. #StPaddysDay

Crash kills two in Albany TX, sun glare may have contributed | KTXS

ALBANY, TX - A terrible crash killed two people on Highway 6, south of Albany, on Monday morning.

A Texas Department of Safety spokesperson said a Dodge Neon struck a vehicle that was yielding to a semi with a wide load. The neon then crashed into the on-coming semi. The car's fuel tank ruptured and caught on fire with the two victims inside…

Sun glare may have been the reason the Neon's driver didn't stop…

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Struck by car, Westford man protests 'dismissive' treatment | Lowell Sun

WESTFORD, MA - The latest installment in a back-and-forth battle between a pedestrian struck in a crash and the police department came last week during a Board of Selectmen meeting…

Keith Bohne, 69, is the owner of the Drew Farm apple orchard. He came before selectmen in February to bring light to issues he had with the police department after he was struck by a vehicle in a severe car crash while walking his dog on Brookside Road in November 2012…

On Nov. 26, 2012, at about 8:15 a.m., Bohne was walking against traffic on the right-hand side down Brookside toward Moore Road with his pet. Westford resident Meghan McCarthy, 24, came around the corner out of Moore Road onto Brookside, according to police reports, and then struck Bohne. The dog was uninjured…

Bohne, who has lived in town since 1971, was seriously injured in the crash and taken to Lowell General Hospital before being transported to Brigham and Women's Hospital where he spent four nights in the ICU. Bohne said he suffered multiple injuries including a depressed skull fracture, a broken rib and broken leg. He said his medical bills amounted to more than $100,000 and they were covered by McCarthy's insurance.

McCarthy stated, according to police reports provided by Bohne, she didn't see him because of solar glare and also his dog was in the middle of the road so she swerved to avoid the animal. At the end of their investigation, police ruled McCarthy was not at fault and supported her statements.

Bohne argues he was rather on the side of the road walking out of the roadway, and his dog was to his left, nowhere close to the pavement. An eye-witness in his statement to police also confirmed this, according to official statements to police. He said he believes Westford Police took McCarthy at her word and did not pursue the case further, and unofficially blamed him for causing the incident.

Bohne last year demanded the town obtain McCarthy's phone records, which she voluntarily released and showed she was not using the phone while driving. Bohne also hired an outside accident reconstruction firm which specializes in sun and shadow position modeling called R. Bouwmeester and Associates to review his case. The Canadian firm found in their investigation the sunlight was rather to the right of McCarthy and would not blind her while driving.

Police disagreed with Bohne's submitted reconstruction report however, and after reopening the case and investigating it again in June, they came to the same conclusion as before…

Bohne said he is not looking for money or compensation in this case - only to have the record "set straight" so the public knows he and his dog were not in the roadway and he did not cause the incident.

"They said if I had been closer or father away from the intersection this crash could have been avoided, like it's my fault," he said. "They said (McCarthy) couldn't avoid the crash because of where I was. ... It's unbelievable."…

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@lives2talk: @SunPosition @jelansangan @Auditmacs @day2day_tips Have you seen the TV ads for the EXTEND-A-VISOR-THE SUPER SUN BLOCKER? Thoughts?
RB: I have not, but there are a number of products out there that sound simlar.

@lives2talk: I'm wondering if they are the same as a cheap pair of sunglasses!
 RB: That is certainly possible. Hard to say w/o comparing.
@lives2talk: If not too late for @cbcmarketplace think story on extended visors wld be something @cbctom & @cbcErica cld sink thr teeth into
RB: I think you just pitched the idea. cc. @cbcmarketplace @cbctom @cbcErica 
@lives2talk: @SunPosition @cbcmarketplace @cbctom @cbcErica Yup! That I did! And you could be the expert they consult!
RB: Awww thanks for the plug. IMHO a vision expert would be good. cc. @cbcmarketplace @cbctom @cbcErica

Preventing Sun Glare - Driving & sun glare can be a deadly combination. Advice for safer driving | Consumer Reports  Video -

Spring Equinox Commute Could Blind You in These Five Cities  - via @weatherchannel

Spring officially begins Thursday (Ed. March 20, 2014) at 12:57 p.m. EDT.

For many commuters, it's another step toward freedom from icy and snowy journeys to work. But for people who live in the many American cities built on a Cartesian grid of north-south and east-west roads, the equinoxes – both in spring and fall – bring a new kind of commuting headache.

Because the sun rises due east on the horizon at the equinoxes, and sets due west, cities built on these street grids offer plenty of opportunities to drive into a blinding sun during rush hour – especially in the morning, when the sun is just rising during most people's commutes.

On the next few pages are our top five picks for the worst spring equinox commutes this year – cities with a lot of eastbound morning commuters and sunny weather in the forecast Thursday, creating a recipe for delays and difficulty seeing clearly due to sun glare…

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Visibility fine one second, sun glare the next > Sun blamed for fatal crash | Newark Advertiser

NOTTINGHAM, UK - A driver died following a collision with a horsebox after being blinded by the sun during what was a safe overtaking manoeuvre, an inquest heard. Mr Neil Atkins, 40, of Main Street, Upton, was driving a silver Mini Cooper south between Southwell and Thurgarton on Nottingham Road in December when he attempted to overtake another car.

His vehicle struck a horsebox travelling the other way, causing him to clip the car he was overtaking and leave the road…

Pc Colin Thomas, a forensic collision investigator with Nottinghamshire Police, told Nottingham Coroner’s Court: “What probably occurred was as Neil travelled behind the car he effectively had the sun obscured from his view by vegetation on the side of the road…

“However, when you get to the point (where) the vegetation moves away, the full glare of the sun would be directly in front at a low level."...

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Pilots hate glare from world’s biggest solar power farm | CNBC

RIVERSIDE, CA - Placing 173,500 garage door-sized mirrors near an airport might not be a great idea, according to complaints from pilots who have flown close to the world's largest solar electric plant and were blinded by the light.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is located in California's Ivanpah Dry Lake near the border with Nevada and about 40 miles from Las Vegas.

The concentrated reflection from the panels has led pilots to file safety complaints about the blinding glare, according to reports in the Riverside Press-Enterprise and Quartz.

The mirrors focus the sunlight on towers with water-filled boilers that create steam and power turbines that generate 377 megawatts of carbon-free electricity, according to Quartz. While the pilots are only bothered by the light, birds in the area can't deal with the feather-melting heat.

Quartz reported: "'From the pilot's seat of my aircraft the brightness was like looking into the sun,' reported one pilot as his small plane climbed from 6,000 to 12,000 feet after taking off from the Boulder City, Nevada, airport.

In a report he filed with the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), the pilot wrote that, 'In my opinion the reflection from these mirrors was a hazard to flight because for a brief time I could not scan the sky in that direction to look for other aircraft.'" …

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@lives2talk: @SunPosition Worst problem w/solar farms! Airport needs 2 chg flight patterns so pilots fly around it! Are pilots allowed 2 wear sunglasses?  
RB: I heard non-polarized sunglasses are best for pilots. Why? Bc they need to spot glare off other planes.
@lives2talk: They won't be of much use in this case! Cld pilots wear polarized when nearing solar farm & be directed by air traffic control?
RB: Hmmmm, good idea.

Sun glare played a role > 3 injured in Route 23 crash | Register-Star

CLAVERACK, NY - Three people were hospitalized with minor injuries Monday after sun glare triggered a four-car accident at 6:41 p.m. on Route 23, between Decker and Donnelly roads, in Claverack, according to police...

Sun glare played a role in Monday’s chain accident, state police Sgt. Robin Reed said. All four vehicles were going west at sunset.

“What was happening was the first car was driving slow, and the second car couldn’t see it,” until they collided, Reed said. She added a third car stopped to help before it too was rear-ended...

“It was strictly the sun’s glare,” Reed said. “They really didn’t see the cars in front of them.”…

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It's that time of year again, low sun during commutes. Take extra care - sunglasses, clean windshield, extra distance.

First line of defence against low sun glare - visors. Keep them clear of clutter so you can actually use them.

Sun blamed > NTSB: Fatal Oklahoma Crop Dusting Crash Illustrates Dangers Of Temporary Towers | NewsOn6

BALKO, OK - The National Transportation Safety Board blames the pilot and the sun for a crash in which he died last August. But the NTSB also says the incident demonstrates how dangerous temporary meteorological towers can be. 
Jason Martin, 34, died when his single-engine crop dusting airplane hit a temporary meteorological tower, or MET, on August 5, 2013. 
Martin had taken off from Perryton, Texas in a 1983 Air Tractor with a load of herbicide when the propeller-driven plane hit the 197-foot tower near Balko, Oklahoma at about 10 o'clock that morning.
Balko is just north of Highway 412 near the eastern end of the Oklahoma panhandle. The impact sheared off the upper section of the tower and the airplane's right wing, causing the aircraft to spin out of control and crash.
The NTSB says Martin was a commercial-rated pilot with 1,750 hours of flight time...

Hmm, but wide side arms reduce peripheral vision > Top 10 Best Rated Driving Sunglasses | thoughtboxes article -

Sun conditions can change quickly > Crash Claimed Kingswood Oxford Dean | The Hartford Courant

WEST HARTFORD, CT - Police said Thursday they have determined that the 2000 Saab driven by a Kingswood Oxford school dean who died in a crash Tuesday morning did not have any mechanical defects.

Capt. Jeffrey Rose, head of the West Hartford police department's traffic division, said Thursday morning that investigators also returned to the scene of the crash, at Mountain Road and Boulevard, Thursday and were not able to determine whether sun glare may have contributed to the accident.

"The sun is at a low angle and it's sometimes obscured by trees and sometimes not," Rose said. "It changes very rapidly."…

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@SafeDriver How comfortable are you with roundabouts? Good idea or bad idea?

RB: Roundabouts need to be promoted more. Less noise and fuel due to stop/start, and less chance for T-bone collisions.
@SafeDriver: Absolutely, which is what I promote in that article. Thanks Ralph.

Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – March 2014

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, specific projects, and sun/shade issues. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition

Shadow Conditions That Increase the Amount of Thermal Stress on Glass | AAMA   

SCHAUMBURG, IL - In the June 2013 publication of Glass Canada, Margaret Webb, Executive Director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA), gave an overview of a technical services bulletin developed by IGMA to assist the industry in providing a proper technical understanding for thermal stress. The bulletin, TB 1300-13, is titled “Guidelines for Thermal Stress Considerations.”…

One of the most common examples of thermal stress breakage can occur from conditions arising from a clear cold winter night when the glass cools to an ambient condition over night and then in the morning or when the glass is exposed to solar exposure with shading conditions that allow portions of the glass to stay cold while other portions of the glass are being heated by the solar exposure. The heated areas of the glass tend to expand being forced into a state of compression, while the cool zones that are encapsulated by the framing system and/or shaded area are forced into a state of tension…

Experience and examination of fracture origins has verified that the conditions described can and will occur from thermally induced glass fracture and can occur in summer or winter conditions. This is because the thermal gradient between the heated area of the glass and cooler edges is the critical condition to evaluate.

The shadowing of the glass enhances the thermal stress issue and certain types of shadows have more of an impact than others. The shadows that cast an angular shadow or a “V” shape on the glass have been demonstrated to develop larger thermal stresses that linear shadows…

These guidelines were developed from the collective experiences of insulating glass manufacturers, glass and glazing material suppliers, contract glaziers, design engineers, industry consultants and persons experienced in successful IG manufacturing. The document reflects existing technology and will be subject to periodic review and change when new technologies become available as is the normal process in IGMA.

TB 1300-13 contains various sections to cover the importance of thermal stress conditions. The shadow portion is just one of the many issues that interest the architect, designer, glass fabricator, glazing contractor and others relative to the subject…

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Here's the 50-Story Condo Skyscraper Headed to Eighth & Olive | via @CurbedLA


LOS ANGELES, CA - This 50-story mixed-use tower by recently-prolific Downtown developers Onni Group may not be architecturally exciting—it looks a lot like a giant plastic cigarette lighter posted up at the corner of Eighth and Olive—but next to what will be Onni Group's 32-story tower, it at least makes a good pairing. (Onni's other tower can be seen in some of the renderings, very much in the shadow of what Building LA points out is "amongst the tallest residential buildings in the state of California.")

The giant glass-and-concrete building might help keep Downtown a little cooler too: when the 589-unit structure is completed, it's expected at certain times of the year to cast a shadow that will stretch across several blocks, all the way to Main and Seventh Streets…

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Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – March 2014

The following are miscellaneous sun, shade, solar and solar energy facts and comments. They were derived from our twitter feed @SunPosition
Calgary and Winnipeg hit 11 hours of daylight tomorrow Mar 2nd.

The sun rises and sets further north each day during March by about one sun diameter.

Do you want a quick way to tell where east or west is from your house?
@MaxontheCoast: sure!

RB: Rise and set will be within a degree or so of due east and west on the 20th.
@MaxontheCoast: thx - my street is supposed to be east-west. I'll check it!
@MaxontheCoast: clearly an equinox thing
RB: For even better results check set on the 18th and rise on the 19th.

12 hrs daylight in Toronto tomorrow, March 17th. And gaining 3 minutes/day.
12 hrs daylight in Ottawa on Tuesday, March 18th. And gaining 3 minutes/day.

@SkyJacked793 You'll be able to watch the sun set from your office tomorrow Mar 18th at almost exactly due west.
RB: And sunrise will be almost exactly due east on Mar 19th.

@SkyJacked793: Thanks Ralph. Sunrise I might make. My office will be closed by sunset. I tried staying late a few times but got clouds :/

The tip of a shadow follows an almost perfect west-east line on the equinox.

12 hrs daylight in Toronto today, March 17. And gaining 3 minutes/day.

Toronto gains 3 minutes of daylight per day at this time of year. Biggest daily gain of the year.

Ottawa gains 3 min 13 sec of daylight per day at this time of year. Biggest daily gain of the year.

The sun sets closest to due west tonight Mar 18th.

The sun rises closest to due east tomorrow Mar 19th.

How online maps can speed up solar site selection | GreenBiz

OAKLAND, CA - Many variables go into deciding whether a parcel of land is appropriate for solar development: the intensity of the sun's resources, how much space is available to accommodate arrays, soil types, environmental considerations, such as wetlands or endangered species status, and proximity to existing substations or three-phase towers.
Researching a site for any one factor can be challenging enough. Considering all of them simultaneously usually takes months.
Impatient with that timetable, real estate broker National Land Realty (NLR) turned to the ArcGIS online mapping and data visualization resource from Environment Systems Research Institute (Esri) to rethink how it evaluates land for solar development.
Together with Columbia, S.C-based Beitz and Daigh Geographics, NLR has created a sophisticated service that identifies prospects in weeks rather than months, displaying them interactively in a map view…
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Spring begins Mar 20/14 when the sun crosses the meridian thru Lac-aux-Sables QC and Southampton NY.

Cheers, Ralph