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AAA Warns Of Daylight Saving Time Related Drowsy Driving

AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning drivers to be extra mindful on Monday after Daylight Saving Time kicks in.

The annual scheduled clock hopping is happening on Sunday (March 11), “springing forward” an hour starting at 2 a.m.

Only 31.9 percent of Washingtonians get seven hours of sleep per night, according to AAA, and it can take two weeks for the body to adjust to the time turning.

Even losing one hour’s sleep can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm enough to cause damage. Health risks include strokes, heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, and workplace- or traffic-related accidents.

Drowsy driving in particular is a concern in AAA’s eyes citing the “major threat on area roadways Monday” morning and calling it “one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.”

The automotive organization’s warning points to its own drowsy driving research.

Remarkably, the percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates indicate, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The difficulty in detecting drowsiness following a crash makes drowsy driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues. The new research provides an unprecedented analysis of in-vehicle dashcam video from more than 700 crashes, confirming that the danger of drowsy driving soars above official estimates. This weekend, millions of drivers will have difficulty springing forward. Come Monday, the prevalence of short sleep will loom large.

In the study, researchers examined video of drivers’ faces in the three minutes leading up to a crash.
Using a scientific measure linking the percentage of time a person’s eyes are closed to their level of drowsiness, the researchers determined that 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness. Federal estimates indicate drowsiness is a factor in only one to two percent of crashes.

Even so, 35 percent of drivers in the United States sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours daily, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In a recent related AAA Foundation survey, nearly all drivers (96 percent) say they view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior. However, 29 percent admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.

Drowsy driving warning signs include struggling to keep your eyes open, lane drifting, and not remembering the last few miles driven.

To avoid drowsy driving, AAA recommends drivers travel when they normally would travel, avoid heavy foods and other sleep-inducing medications, and, for longer trips, schedule breaks every two hours for every 100 miles driven with an alert passenger who can take turns driving.

Photo via Flickr/David Giambarresi

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Morning Notes

Arlington Heights Gets New Stop Sign — “The Arlington Heights neighborhood became a safer place for students and other pedestrians on Oct. 30,” after the neighborhood got a new all-way stop sign at the intersection of 2nd Street S. and S. Irving Street. Residents collected some 500 petition signatures in support of adding the stop sign. [InsideNova]

Reminder: Daylight Saving Time — Early Sunday morning is the time to “fall back” as Daylight Saving Time ends and clocks get set back an hour. [USA Today]

Clean Air in N. Va. — “This past summer’s air was among the healthiest in memory across the commonwealth. The summer months were the cleanest in terms of ground-level ozone in at least 20 years, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality reported on Oct. 31.” [InsideNova]

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AAA’s Time Change Safety Tips for Drivers and Pedestrians

HOV lanes of I-395 blocked near Pentagon during car fireClocks will “fall back” an hour early Sunday morning, as Daylight Saving Time ends.

The annual autumnal time change is associated primarily with earlier sunsets, but fatigue due to disrupted sleep patterns is another side effect.

Between darkness suddenly occurring during the duration of the evening rush hour, and bleary-eyed drivers, the time change can actually be a safety hazard on the roads.

AAA Mid-Atlantic this week issued a lengthy press release that included the following tips to stay safe over the next couple of days.

Time shift safety tips for pedestrians:

  • See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you.
  • Make eye contact with drivers when crossing streets.
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing and/or accessories at night.
  • Carry a flashlight when walking in the dark.
  • Cross only at intersections or crosswalks. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear.
  • Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.
  • Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street.
  • Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • Do not let umbrellas or jacket hoods block your view of approaching traffic.
  • While walking, pocket the cell phone and avoid listening to your music player at a volume that prohibits you from hearing approaching danger.

Time change tips for drivers:

  • Pay attention and eliminate all distractions including cell phones and car clocks that are off an hour!
  • Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
  • Watch for children and families in neighborhoods and along school bus routes, at intersections, and when backing out of driveways.
  • Turn on your headlights. Make yourself more visible during early morning and evening hours.
  • Keep vehicle headlights and windows (inside and out) clean.
  • Do not use high beams when other cars or pedestrians are around.
  • Teen drivers should exercise extra caution.
  • Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out ones. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
  • Slow down during rain and fog.

The rest of the press release, after the jump.

“If I Could Turn Back The Hands of Time.” As it turns out, soul balladeer Tyrone Davis wasn’t the only one wishing to go back in time to rectify things done and left undone. Timing is everything in love and life, and we will have the opportunity to turn back the clock at least one hour at 2:00 A.M., Sunday, November 6, 2016. In addition to setting clocks back one hour, motorists should be prepared for sun glare during their morning commute and for reduced visibility on the road during their evening commute, AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education warn. The time change can cause disturbed sleep patterns, and when combined with the earlier dusk and darkness during the evening commute, become a formula for drowsy driving and fatigue-related crashes — conditions many drivers may be unaware of during the time change.

As everyone knows, there are safety concerns when Daylight Saving Time begins in the spring. In fact, car crashes increase by up to six percent on the Mondays following the time change in the spring, data from the National Safety Council suggest. However, when clocks “fall back” in autumn, drowsy driving becomes a significant threat to motorists, caution AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education. That is because their evening commute will now take place in darkness. Sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries on American roadways each year, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

“The fall colors are glorious, yet ‘winter time’ begins anew this weekend. There is no doubt about it, many will enjoy an extra hour of sleep, yet few commuters and motorists realize the added dangers that can come as the result of a time change – especially when they are behind the wheel,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Although we gain an hour of sleep, it is unsafe to drive when we are sleep deprived. This one hour shift in time during the fall not only creates darker driving conditions, it can also disturb sleep patterns, perhaps even resulting in drowsy driving episodes.”

Nearly 1 in 3 drivers (32 percent) say they have driven when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open in the past 30 days, according to the latest Traffic Safety Culture Report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In fact, more than 1 in 5 (22 percent) admitted doing this more than once during that time. Previous research by the AAA Foundation estimates that drowsy driving is a factor in an average of 328,000 crashes annually, including 109,000 crashes that result in injuries and 6,400 fatal crashes.

Plus, there are other dangers stemming from the biannual time shift. Following the fall time change, motorists must adjust their driving habits, and for safety’s sake, also watch for children and others who will be less visible outdoors. That’s especially true during the first week of the time change. Consider this, sunrise and sunset will be about one hour earlier on Sunday, November 6 than the day before. Also factor in the fact it will be lighter in the morning as motorists drive into the sun, causing temporary blindness and making it
harder to see the road ahead, potential hazards and other highway users, including motorists, pedestrians,
school children and cyclists. Drivers can expect reduced visibility because the evening commute time will be darker. Teen drivers who aren’t as experienced with nighttime driving and motorists with vision issues may need to be especially careful, warns the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education.

“The morning sun may also cause reflections off car windows, hoods or other metallic portions of automobiles and it can be a serious hazard to drivers and pedestrians,” said Joseph Beddick, Safety Services Manager for the D.C. Metro Area, and Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education. “Sun glare tends to be worst in the morning and in the late afternoon. The glare may cause temporary blindness. To reduce glare, invest in and wear high-quality sunglasses and adjust your car’s sun visors as needed. Late afternoon driving also presents a similar glare problem, so heed the same recommendations. Drivers can also use the night setting on the rearview mirror to avoid glare from headlights approaching them from behind.”

Before the time change in the wee hours of Sunday morning, drivers may need to check to make sure all vehicle lights are working properly. When starting your commute, remember to turn on your headlights and then turn them off when you reach your destination. Motorists should be prepared to face changed conditions during the morning commute. In addition, children, pedestrians, joggers, walkers and bicyclists likely will continue to be outside but will be a lot less visible during the evening commute. Accordingly, motorists should slow down and be extra alert, particularly in residential neighborhoods and school zones.

It only takes a minute to become involved in a life-altering crash. Take heed. “It raises the question has Daylight Saving Time outlived its usefulness? After all, it was designed “with the purpose of making better use of daylight and conserving energy.” Yes, “Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”

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AAA: Beware of Drowsy Drivers Today

I-395 is backed up from an accident near the 14th Street BridgePeople generally like Daylight Saving Time and its extra hour of daylight at night. Here’s one thing you may not like: extra drowsy drivers on the road.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says losing an hour of sleep Sunday morning could produce more drowsy driving all week.

The organization issued the following press release on Friday.

Wake up sleepyhead. Blame it on old Benjamin Franklin. The sleepiness begins again at 2 a.m. this coming Sunday. The time shift in the wee hours can break the sleep cycle and the “grogginess can persist all day” in a nation that already doesn’t get adequate sleep. Insomnia is deadly behind the wheel. Nearly 1 in 3 drivers (32 percent) confessed they were so tired they drove drowsy during the previous 30 days, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The number of nodding drivers on the road might increase during next Monday’s commute times, the day after the biannual transition to and from Daylight Saving Time.

The “first six days of daylight saving time can prove dangerous for drivers and other highway users,” some research suggests. However, other researchers say their studies demonstrated “that transitions into and out of daylight saving time did not increase the number of traffic road accidents.”

“The shift in time can engender a shift in circadian rhythm. Drowsiness can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk, and it can be just as dangerous, research shows. Too many people drive under the influence of sleep,” said Tom Calcagni, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Director of Public and Government Affairs.

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Morning Notes

"look from front yard visitor" (Flickr pool photo by wolfkann)

Historical Society Requests Heritage Center — The Arlington Historical Society formally requested including a heritage center in the the plan for redeveloping the Courthouse Square area. The organization said it could assist with developing such a facility, but could not foot the bill entirely on its own. [InsideNova]

Wizards’ Marcin Gortat Buys $1.6M Home in Arlington — Washington Wizards player Marcin Gortat has purchased one of the most expensive homes on the market in Arlington. He bought the 5-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom home for $1.6 million. The 4,008 square foot new house on N. Quebec Street should have plenty of room for the 6’11” Gortat. [Curbed DC]

County Responds to Streetcar Criticism — The county has made a website addressing a number of concerns raised about the streetcar project, particularly how to avoid problems being experienced by the D.C. streetcar on H Street. The website lists its plans to alleviate some of the problems, like keeping traffic moving, while calling this “an opportunity for us to learn best practices.” [Arlington County]

Free Halloween Taxi Rides from SoberRide — The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2014 SoberRide service is available tonight. Anyone enjoying some adult beverages can get a free taxi, up to a $30 fare, instead of trying to drive home. SoberRide begins today at 10:00 p.m. and runs through 4:00 a.m. Saturday. Call 1-800-200-TAXI. [Washington Regional Alcohol Program]

Daylight Saving Time Ends — Remember to set your clocks back one hour this weekend. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. It’s also a good time to test your smoke detector.

Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann

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AAA: Daylight Saving Time May Make for Drowsy Drivers

Traffic on I-395 (file photo)Daylight Saving Time officially begins at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, 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.  Losing an hour of sleep and the change in daylight hours means motorists may potentially experience drowsy driving and added distractions of the road. In addition to the change of daylight, children, pedestrians, joggers, walker, bicyclists  and motorcyclists will likely be more active outdoors. For safety’s sake, it behooves motorists to keep a watchful eye for all highway users as the days become longer.

“Each spring we go through the ritual of setting our clocks forward one hour.  While some believe ‘just an hour’ of lost sleep is not significant, many people, who are already sleep deprived going into the weekend, are more likely to be impaired from an attention and safety standpoint,” said Mahlon G. (Lon) Anderson, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Managing Director of Public and Government Affairs.  “A change in time can affect people physically and drivers can be more tired than they realize.”

To prevent this, 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.” An estimated 17 percent of fatal crashes, 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization, and seven percent of all crashes requiring a tow involve a drowsy driver, according to a 2010 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year.  The actual figure may be higher because police can’t always determine with certainty when driver fatigue results or is a contributory factor in a crash.

“You are getting sleepy, very sleepy.”  AAA Mid-Atlantic advises motorists to make sure they get adequate sleep before getting behind the wheel of their vehicle.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults get 7-9 hours of sleep to maintain proper alertness during the day. Studies show that sleep needs vary by age group.

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Morning Notes

Construction at Pentagon Row (courtesy photo)

Daylight Saving Time Ends Sunday — Be sure to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed on Saturday. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 a.m. Sunday, meaning an extra hour of sleep but one fewer hour of daylight at night. The changing of the clocks is also a good time to replace smoke alarm batteries.

Dems Worry About Libertarian’s Impact on Gov. Race — Historically, polls overestimate the potential votes for third party candidates because voters who might have expressed support for a third party in a poll end up choosing one of the major party candidates in the voting booth. Arlington Democrats worry that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli is thin enough that supporters of Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis may tip the election on Nov. 5 if they break for Cuccinelli. [Sun Gazette]

Blue, Orange Line Work This Weekend — Trains on the Blue and Orange Line will run every 15 minutes this weekend due to scheduled track work. [WMATA]

Arlington Education Company Cutting Jobs — Arlington-based Strayer Education is cutting its workforce by 20 percent and closing some of its Strayer University campuses. Students enrollment is down 17 percent. [Washington Business Journal]

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Sunset over Reagan National Airport (Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money)

Spring Forward This Weekend — Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend. Clocks should “spring forward” one hour at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday. [Yahoo]

Condo Residents Still Oppose Homeless Shelter — Arlington County has failed to allay the fears of Woodbury Heights Condominium residents, who still oppose the opening of a new year-round homeless shelter on their block in Courthouse. A vocal group of residents spoke out at an Arlington Planning Commission meeting last night. [Patch]

Fiorina to Participate in AED Event — Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina has just been added to a panel discussion of “empathy in business,” organized by Arlington Economic Development and George Mason University. The event is taking place from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at Artisphere (1101 Wilson Blvd). [Arlington Economic Development]

Flickr pool photo by Sunday Money

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Morning Poll: End of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time will end on Sunday (Nov. 4). At 2:00 a.m., clocks will be set back one hour.

As Arlington residents “fall back,” fire departments across the country are reminding folks that it’s also a good time to replace smoke alarm batteries. The Arlington County Fire Department offers free smoke alarms for those who need them; call 703-228-4646 for more information.

While we’ll get an extra hour of sleep this weekend, the time change also means that it will be dark an hour earlier.

All things considered, how do you feel about the end of Daylight Saving Time this weekend?


Flickr pool photo by Mnemosyne2009

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Morning Notes

Daylight Saving Time Begins This Weekend — Daylight Saving Time will begin at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 11. Clocks should be moved ahead one hour before going to bed Saturday night. The start of Daylight Saving Time is also commonly cited as a good time to replace the batteries in smoke detectors.

Artistic Fence Coming to Water Treatment Plant — The County Board is expected to approve a $350,000 contract for an artist to build a 1,600 foot fence around the water treatment plant on S. Glebe Road. The fence, a functional work of art, “redefines the traditional purpose of a fence,” according to county staff. [Sun Gazette]

Hummus Happy Hour at Lebanese Taverna — Local restaurant chain Lebanese Taverna just launched a $5 “bottomless hommos” happy hour. The deal, which runs from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, is available at the company’s Pentagon Row and Westover restaurants, in addition to several other locations. [Facebook]

Oyster Happy Hour at Restaurant 3 — Clarendon’s Restaurant 3 (2950 Clarendon Blvd) has introduced a “local oyster happy hour” on Sundays. The eatery is offering discounted Maryland and Virginia oysters, $9 fried oyster sliders, $7 oyster shooters and $3 beer specials from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. every Sunday. [Rrestaurant 3]

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Morning Poll: Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time will be ending over the weekend, giving way to earlier sunrises and earlier sunsets.

On Sunday at 2:00 a.m., clocks will “fall back” to 1:00 a.m. The time shift will give bar-goers an extra hour of partying, will give others an extra hour of sleep, and will force Metro to stay open an extra hour.

Daylight Saving Time was originally created in order to save energy and to reduce the number of daylight hours people wasted by sleeping through in the summer. While popular with folks who work from 9-5 and who don’t like leaving work at dusk (the sun will set at 5:02 p.m. on Monday, and days will continue getting shorter until the winter solstice on Dec. 22), farmers, who have to wake up especially early during the summer growing season, typically oppose Daylight Saving Time.

This year, citing the stress and depression that occurs for some when when it gets darker earlier, Russia decided to ignore agricultural concerns and stay permanently in Daylight Saving Time (or “summertime,” as the British call it).

Should the U.S. consider doing the same?


Flickr pool by Mnemosyne2009

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ACFD Reminder: Change Smoke Detector Batteries for Daylight Saving Time

Most people won’t have a problem remembering to “spring forward” by setting clocks ahead by one hour Saturday night. After all, computers, cell phones and cable boxes adjust for daylight saving time automatically.

What cell phones and computers won’t do for you is change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Luckily, fire departments across the country are reminding residents to do just that.

Arlington County recommends that residents test smoke detectors monthly and replace smoke detector batteries at least once a year. Typically, batteries are changed when the clocks change in the spring or the fall. If you didn’t replace your batteries in the fall, you’ll want to do it now.

“Check the smoke detectors in your house and change the battery… just to play it safe,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Ed Hughes.

Hughes added that there should be a smoke detector on each level of the home, including the sleeping areas. See more smoke detector safety tips here. If you don’t have a smoke detector and you feel you can’t afford one, Arlington County offers free smoke detectors to residents who fill out this form.

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