On a bright, sunny day you can still face danger behind the wheel, even when the weather is picture-perfect. As the sun rises, moves across the sky and then sets, many drivers are suddenly discovering that they’re driving blind from too much sunshine. Every year we see a lot of accidents resulting from “sun glare”, but your car insurance can’t blame the sun, and will rule driver fault. Disability glare, veiling glare, sun blindness, sun dazzle, or sun glare, call it what you will we’ve all experienced that brief moment where you can’t see a thing because the sun is at the perfect apex to cause blindness.
You can’t control the sun, but you can follow these tips to stay safe and protect your family on the road:
- Use your car’s visor whenever possible, lower and adjust it as needed. It won’t make the road more visible, but it can help keep the sun directly out of your eyes.
- Use sunglasses with polarized lenses. Polarized glasses are designed to cut through sun glare and diminish the intensity of the sun. It’s best to put the glasses on your head before your start driving or within convenient reach, not in your purse or glove box.
- Keep your dashboard clean. Don’t store clutter or papers on your dashboard and avoid any cleaners that give your dash a high-gloss finish. The polishes look great, but they turn your dash into a mirror and create a “veiling glare” and obscure your view.
- Clean your windshield. Dirt and haze on your windshield builds up over time, and can make sun glare worse further obstructing your view. Clean the inside and outside with a quality glass cleaner and check for any chips and cracks in your windshield, if caught in time, we can repair most chips and small cracks.
- Increase your following distance. If you can’t see due to sun glare, chances are, neither can the car in front of you. Leave more space between cars and slow down.
- Reduce your speed to reflect the fact that visibility is compromised. You don’t have to slow to a crawl, but slow down enough to compensate for reduced visibility.
- Use Headlights. I know it’s already bright enough out, but turning on your headlights help your car become more visible for opposing traffic and help the drivers behind you, see you more clearly. Some highways mandate headlight use to lower the risk of accidents from sun glare. Before you get on the road, make sure all of your car’s lights are working properly.
- Change your driving route. If possible, use north-south streets until you find an east-west road with lots of trees or taller buildings.
Sun glare isn’t just a dangerous problem in your windshield, if the sun is at your back, sunlight bounces off the reflectors of the traffic lights ahead, causing them to have the same brightness and making it harder to tell which color light is active. Some motorists run the red light because it looks the same upon approach as the green light they saw moments before. Don’t let sun glare catch you unprepared, the sun comes up and goes down every day. Safe travels this summer.