Snowy weather and icy roads may create their share of car collisions, but sun glare can be a hazard that few people anticipate. There are certain driving hazards that people often expect when getting behind the wheel, including slippery roads, an animal darting out or reduced visibility due to driving rains. But sun glare may not be something drivers expect to contribute to hazardous conditions.
Driving into the sunset might sound romantic, but sometimes it’s the most beautiful things that can cause the most problems – and that’s particularly true when it comes to the stunning but low winter sun. Cyclists and pedestrians need to be aware that it is more a challenge for drivers to spot them when there is low sun, so should make sure to use lights on their bikes even in daylight hours and pedestrians should wear hi-viz clothing.
Countless collisions have occurred due to blind spots created by sun glare and the distance perception problems that are created. Driving directly against the sun can also block peripheral areas of vision and cause sudden moments of blindness as the sun peeks out from behind surrounding objects.
Mayo County Council road safety officer Noel Gibbons said: ”We can’t change the position of the sun, or the need to travel at certain times, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure you’re prepared for these conditions. Keep your windscreen clean, both inside and out. On de-mist, your heater blows traffic fumes, suspended oil and smoke onto the inside of the screen, and wet roads add dirt and scratches to the outside.
”Dirty windscreens add to the danger when the sun is low. If you can’t see, slow down accordingly, keeping an eye on the traffic behind, in case the following vehicle doesn’t see you against the sun. Also beware, with these fine evenings there are more pedestrians and cyclists on the road.”