The sun - a glaring road safety danger
Posted by: Cal on 18/06/2013
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.
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.
Sure, there is no shortage of sunrises and sunsets during spring and summer, yet 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 big ball of burning gas?
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.