Now that we have set our clocks back to Standard Time and have some extra daylight in the morning, it is time to consider safety issues on these shorter days.
Since many people have an opinion on the value of changing the clock twice each year, let’s take a quick look at time.
Historically, noon is when the sun is overhead. Until 140 years ago, each town had its own clock where the sun was overheard at noon. The railroads needed something better for time keeping, so time zones were implemented in 1883. Now, at least in theory, noon is when the sun is overhead in the middle of the time zone. Read more…
Daylight savings time shifts the clock by an hour since most people would prefer a later sunset rather than an earlier sunrise.
This does lead to different sunrise and sunset times across the country, and different issues for drivers facing a sunrise or sunset on the daily drive.
The biggest difference between summer driving and winter driving is the length of the day. Driving when dark requires a lot more attention. The headlights on many modern cars do not age well. Over time, they slowly get abraded and after many years are no longer even close to being transparent. And since the average age of a car in 2019 was 11.8 years, you see quite a few cars with cloudy headlights.
Be careful when you are following one of these cars. Remember that the driver cannot see the road well at night and might take unexpected evasive actions. Watch for hard braking and swerving when that driver sees some something coming into view.
The sun is lower in the sky in the winter. This leads to many places where the sun can rise or set right into the driver’s line of vision. I have seen road signs to alert drivers that at certain times of the year to watch out for this potential problem. Being blinded by the sun and having a vehicle ahead hit the brakes can lead to accidents. Be careful on hills and curves when the sun is rising or setting.
Winter is school time. Always watch for children on the side of the road. This year in Marquette, Michigan, the sun won’t rise on December 22 until 8:31 AM. That means that most, if not all, students will be standing in the dark waiting for a bus.
The last issue is that cold weather storms can be very dangerous.
Although many people from warmer climates say they are glad they don’t have to put up the heavy snow, Southern cities are frequently hit by ice storms and the occasional snowfall as well.
Be prepared. If the temperature is close to freezing and rain is in the forecast, there may be patchy ice ahead.
For someone responsible for putting drivers on the road each day to make deliveries or provide services, there is a way to reduce risk. And that is to have the drivers on the road for as short a time as possible.
This calls for using route optimization in the planning process. For the large number of businesses that load a truck in the morning and them make deliveries in order, the Strategic Movements AI assignment process can tell how to load the trucks in a way that the drive time is reduced. Ans doing this while enforcing weight and volume limits, and meeting customer expectations, like time windows. Overall driving cost reductions of 10 to 30 percent can be expected. And the time needed to plan routes is greatly reduced.
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