There are not many statistics on accidents in the U.S. due to sun glare. This is mostly due to the fact that there is usually not a category for sun glare as a cause. However, the UK does keep track of such statistics, and they report that nearly 3,000 accidents happen annually due to sun glare. According to an article in the Daily Mail, the setting sun during rush hour is to blame for about 36 deaths each year. Those numbers can only make you wonder what the annual statistics would be for the United States.
Each year during the equinox, the sun rises and sets in nearly a direct east and west position. For people traveling into the sun on east-west streets and roads during this time of the year, driving is hazardous. When it’s a warm, clear day many people don’t see the need to slow down, even though they are driving blind because of the sun.
Sun Glare Is Everybody’s Problem
While the responsibility is on drivers to maintain safety on the roads, even while driving into the sun, it really should be everyone’s responsibility to realize the dangerous conditions that sun glare produces. Everyone should do their part to keep themselves safe. Pedestrians should be aware that they may not be seen by a driver who is contending with the setting sun. You may see the car, but the driver may not be able to see you.
If the sun is behind you when you are driving, turning on your headlights will help oncoming cars see you. You also need to be aware that the glare of the sun behind you may affect how you see the traffic lights in front of you. Light bounces off the reflectors of the stoplights making it difficult to see which light is actually on. Running a red light because it looked the same as the green light they saw a moment ago, as they approached the intersection, is not uncommon.
Unlike some conditions that can pop up unexpectedly, you know the sun is going to rise and set every day. If your route causes you to drive into the sun, there are some precautions you can take to minimize the hazard. Slowing down when driving into the sun is one way to minimize the chances of having an accident. You slow down when it’s foggy or the rain is so heavy you can’t see; slow down for sun glare, too, if you can’t see.
Keep your windshield clean. The sun magnifies all the dirt and dust that’s on your windshield and illuminates it. This interferes with your vision and makes a difficult situation that much harder.
Lighter dashboards make the problem worse. The sun glints off light-colored dashboards making it even more difficult to see as the dashboard is reflected off the windshield. Using high-gloss vinyl cleaners can also add to the problem, as they can cause glare, also.
If possible, consider changing your route, so that you aren’t driving into the sun. Taking streets that either has a lot of shade or that allow you to drive without facing the sun directly will make for a safer commute. If it’s very bad, choose not to drive. At times, that may be the safest alternative.
Wearing polarized sunglasses will also help. Polarized lenses cut down on the glare. They may not make it completely clear for you to see what’s ahead, but they will make a big difference.
Florida is known as the Sunshine State and we are proud of that. At the same time, we need to be aware of the hazards sun glare can create. Drive safely and take measures to ensure you don’t get blinded by the light.
The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. are dedicated to helping the community members of the Port Charlotte area create a safe and pleasant environment. We are here to help you with your legal concerns. You can contact us for a free initial consultation.