Dealing with sun strike when driving

Posted by: Cal on 19/02/2014

Category: General

Even if you do your utmost to maintain proper tyre safety, look after your tyre pressure and replace them as needed, there are other hazards to be aware of on the road.

One of these is the threat of suffering from 'sun strike' - a dangerous occurrence in which the sun dazzles drivers and can prevent them from having sufficient vision on the road.

According to the New Zealand Transport Agency, this usually occurs when the sun is low in the sky during sunrise or sunset. This is a time when some Australians head to and from work and may be affected by sun strike, but it can occur at any time.

Impaired vision and driving a car is never a good mix - in fact, it can be downright dangerous, and could potentially cause a serious crash. When you can't see where you're going, there's no way to be aware of common hazards such as cars braking or pulling out in front of you, or even a car crossing the centre line. Impaired vision could even mean you are the car crossing the centre line!

If you find yourself 'blinded by the light' while you're on the roads, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact of being 'dazzled'. 

When possible, avoid driving on the roads during the hours of sunset and sunrise. However, the New Zealand Transport Agency states sunstroke could happen at any time of the day, so it's important to be prepared.

Carry a pair of sunglasses whenever you drive, and keep them in an easy to reach location. The middle compartment of your car is a great choice. 

Risk of sun strike is another reason to keep your car clean - a dirty windscreen will make it all the more difficult to see where you are going, so use a quality glass cleaner to make it crystal clear!

Ladies, your car sun visors are there for more reason than to quickly check your lippie at the lights. Pull them down to block sun streaming into your direct line of vision.

These tips are designed to help in mild sun strike, but at times, the glare is so strong that it's hard to see much at all. In these cases, do not attempt to continue your journey - not even if you're running late to a doctor's appointment! Instead, carefully pull over and wait it out - the glare shouldn't be so fierce after a few minutes.