Time change should make for challenging Monday afternoon rush

WASHINGTON — People got an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, but this weekend’s time change might make Monday’s commute more challenging.

“We are expecting a worse afternoon rush hour than normal for Monday afternoon,” said WTOP traffic director Jim Battagliese.

Battagliese said drivers should be prepared for a more intense drive home. “It happens when we switch to standard time, and people have to drive home from work in the dark,” Battagliese said.

John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said the time change affects people’s sleep and leads to a spike in drowsy driving.

“We are already sleep-deprived,” he said. “Think about this: One in three drivers confessed to being so tired behind the wheel that they dozed off for a short while and had a hard time keeping their eyes open in the last 30 days.”

Townsend said the sleep factor is even more reason not to be driving distracted. “Being drowsy when you are driving sneaks up on you,” he said.

He urged motorists to put down cellphones and watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists and children, especially since motorists will be driving home in the dark.

Townsend said drivers should be prepared for morning sun glare during the morning commute and reduced visibility during the afternoon commute because of the earlier sunsets.

AAA Mid-Atlantic’s tips for drivers
  • Eliminate distractions, such as cellphones.
  • Turns on your headlights to make your vehicle more visible in the early morning and evening.
  • Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
  • Watch for kids and residents in neighborhoods, at crosswalks, along bus routes and while backing out of your driveway.
  • Keep your vehicle windows and headlights clean.
AAA Mid-Atlantic’s tips for pedestrians
  • Wear bright colors or reflective clothing at night so drivers can see you.
  • Carry a flashlight when you walk in the dark.
  • Cross only at intersections or crosswalks.
  • Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.

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