Beware Dangers Of Sun Glare During Your Commute
Visibility is a big factor in staying safe out on the roads for a very simple reason: what you see, you can react to, or at least try to.
That's why it is so important to drive to the conditions. In heavy rain or fog, visibility can be reduced to mere metres. That’s why we hear all too often this time of year of a cyclist or pedestrian in a collision with a car because the driver was blinded by the low sun.
In these situations it is imperative to slow down, turn on the headlights and take extra caution on the roads.
In the autumn and winter months there is an unlikely danger lurking in the field of vision of drivers: the sun.
And the reason is the season. In the cooler months, the sun sits lower in the sky.
Even though there's many ways to counter the sun's affects, we don't always remember to use them. Because of that, the road safety office of Mayo County Council has put together a key list of tips for driving in the sun.
During autumn and winter, the sun is more likely to be in your field of vision for longer in the course of any given day.
That means that drivers are more at risk of suffering sun-blindness, when the sun's glare is so overwhelming that it makes it hard to see anything else.
So how do you battle that bright ball of light?
Your most trusty standbys are sun visors and sunglasses. Good shades are an absolute must so that you don't need to spend your morning commute peeking through squinted eyes, and of course your visors exist specifically to block that harsh sun.
There are also some other steps you can take to ensure you have optimal visibility on the road at all times.
It goes without saying that it is easier to see through a clean windscreen, yet this is particularly the case when glaring sun is a factor.
The sun can highlight scratches, and the little dirt and grime traces that accumulate on windscreens over time can spread its glare, rendering it even harder to make things out in front of you.
Be sure to give your windscreen a good clean inside and out every few weeks, top up the washer liquid and detergent regularly, and replace your windscreen wiper blades once a year, or more often if necessary.
The same goes for your back window and mirrors - when the sun is behind you it can be just as dangerous when you are checking the rear-view or side mirrors.
Always err on the side of caution. When sun glare is harsh, lower your speed and be aware that other drivers may be having similar visibility problems.
The guidelines issued by Mayo County Council are as follows:
- Use polarized sunglasses that can help prevent glare.
- Delay driving times to occur before or after sunrise or sunset.
- Don’t use high-gloss products on the dashboard, which can contribute to extra glare.
- Keep the inside and outside of the windshield clean.
- Make use of sun visors.
- If glare is a problem, leave extra space between your car and others in the event of sudden stopping or other road hazards.
- Drive slowly and be mindful of obstructions.
- Try taking another route that goes in a different direction than the one from which the sun is shining.
- Leave extra time so that you don’t feel rushed getting to your destination.
- Eye exams or surgery can make eyes more sensitive to the sunlight. Avoid driving after these appointments.
“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, Drivers should take extra care early in the morning, especially in deep mid-winter when the sun is at its lowest.
“Mature drivers should consider their options regarding eyewear, ensure their eyes are checked regularly and appropriate tinted glasses are available.” says Noel Gibbons road safety officer communications department Mayo County Council.
“Many slower and more vulnerable road users – joggers, dog walkers, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders – will be trying to take advantage of the last of the light evenings before the clocks go back. All road users need to be fully aware of the potential twilight dangers.
“Joggers, dog walkers, workers returning home on foot and other pedestrians walking with their backs to vehicles are almost twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents.( always walk facing oncoming traffic)”.