Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
1:00 AM 27th January 2024

The Hidden Dangers Of Driving In Sun Glare!

Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash
Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash
As drivers, we often worry about the conventional threats on the road: inclement weather, reckless drivers, and the occasional mechanical failure. However, there's a more insidious hazard that tends to be overlooked, yet its impact is equally dangerous —sun glare.

Particularly during the early morning and late afternoon, the sun can cast a blinding glare, making it extremely challenging for drivers to see the road ahead. This visual impairment not only increases the risk of accidents but also brings with it a slew of legal and financial consequences.

Dom Watt, from First Vehicle Leasing explains the dangers of sun glare:
"Sun glare can be a driver's worst nightmare. It occurs when the sun's rays hit the windshield at a sharp angle, scattering light and significantly reducing visibility. This phenomenon is not just a mild inconvenience. It's a serious hazard that can lead to catastrophic outcomes. Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) acknowledges sun glare as a significant factor in numerous road accidents each year."

Visual Impairment and Distraction

The primary danger of sun glare lies in its ability to impair vision. A driver facing the sun may experience temporary blindness or have to squint and strain their eyes to maintain a clear view of the road. This strain not only leads to discomfort but can also result in delayed reaction times. Furthermore, drivers may become distracted as they attempt to block the glare with their hands or adjust their sun visors, taking their focus off the road.

Increased Accident Risk

The momentary blindness caused by sun glare can lead to severe consequences. Unable to see traffic lights, pedestrians, or other vehicles clearly, drivers are at a higher risk of causing or being involved in an accident. A study published in the journal Medicine states that the risk of a life-threatening crash is 16% higher during bright sunlight compared to normal weather.

Legal and Financial Repercussions

Aside from the immediate danger to life and property, sun glare can have significant legal and financial implications for drivers. Dom Watt from First Vehicle Leasing sheds light on the lesser-known consequences that drivers may face if involved in an accident under these conditions.

Fines and Legal Consequences

Drivers are often unaware that they can be held liable for accidents caused due to sun glare. Failing to adapt to weather conditions, including bright sunlight, can lead to hefty fines and even points on your licence. Authorities consider it the responsibility of the driver to ensure they are driving safely regardless of the sun's position. This includes using sun visors, wearing polarised sunglasses, and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles.

Insurance Complications

Perhaps more alarming are the potential complications with insurance coverage in the event of an accident. Insurance companies may not cover the damages if it's found that the driver did not take the necessary precautions to mitigate the effects of sun glare. This means that drivers could face substantial out-of-pocket expenses for repairs, and other damages, not to mention the potential hike in insurance premiums post-incident.

Mitigating the Risks

While sun glare is an inevitable occurrence, there are measures that drivers can adopt to mitigate its risks:

Use Polarised Sunglasses: These can significantly reduce glare and improve visibility.

Adjust Your Driving Schedule: If possible, avoid driving during times when sun glare is most intense, typically during the early morning and late afternoon.

Utilise Sun Visors and Tinted Windows: Properly using sun visors and considering window tints can help block out direct sunlight.

Maintain a Clean Windshield: Dirt and smudges can worsen the glare, so it's crucial to keep your windshield clean.

Sun glare is more than just a nuisance - it's a significant hazard that demands attention and preparation. By understanding the dangers, recognizing the potential legal and financial ramifications, and taking proactive steps to mitigate the risks, drivers can ensure a safer journey for themselves and others on the road.

Credit: First Vehicle Leasing