The Dangers of Sun Glare and How to Stay Safe on the Road

Dec 15 2023 By ZAYOUNA ADMIN

Dangers of Sun Glare - Zayouna Law Firm


Driving under a clear, sunny sky can be a pleasant experience, but it’s not without its challenges. We’ve all experienced the discomfort and distraction of the sun blinding us as we drive. Sun glare can create a serious hazard on the road, making it difficult to see the road, other vehicles, and potential hazards, leading to an increased risk of accidents. In this article, we’ll explore what causes sun glare, why it’s so dangerous, and provide essential tips to help you reduce its impact and hopefully help prevent car accidents.

What Causes Sun Glare and When Does it Occur?

Sun glare occurs when sunlight hits your windshield at certain angles, creating intense brightness and reflections. It’s most common during sunrise and sunset when the sun is low on the horizon, but it can also happen during the day when the sun is high in the sky and reflects off of objects like windshields or signage.

This phenomenon is caused by the angle at which sunlight enters your windshield, and it can be exacerbated by various factors, including a dirty windshield, a hazy atmosphere, or the presence of snow or water on the road.

Why is Sun Glare So Dangerous?

Sun glare is more than just an annoyance. It poses serious risks to road safety, increasing the likelihood of a life-threatening crash by an estimated 16%. Here are some reasons why sun glare is dangerous:

  • Reduced Visibility: Sun glare can decrease visibility significantly, making it challenging to see the road ahead, traffic signals, and other vehicles.
  • Impaired Judgment: Glaring sunlight can impair your judgment, making it difficult to assess distances and the speed of other vehicles accurately.
  • Increased Risk of Accidents: Reduced visibility and impaired judgment can lead to an increased risk of accidents, including rear-end collisions and pedestrian accidents.

Now that we understand the dangers of sun glare, let’s explore some tips to help you reduce its impact on driving safety.

Tips for Reducing the Impact of Sun Glare

1. Utilize your Sun Visor

Your vehicle’s sun visor is your first line of defence against sun glare. Lower it to block out direct sunlight and adjust it as needed to keep the glare out of your eyes.

2. Keep Polarized Sunglasses Handy

Invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses. These sunglasses are designed to reduce glare and improve visibility by filtering out horizontal light waves. Keep them within easy reach while driving to avoid adding the distraction of reaching far corners of your vehicle or digging through your glove box.

3. Keep Your Windshield Clean Inside and Out

A clean windshield is essential for minimizing glare. Ensure that both the inside and outside of your windshield are free from dirt, smudges, and streaks.

4. Maintain Your Windshield

Repair any chips, cracks, or pitting on your windshield promptly. Not only is it against the law to drive with a crack across your windshield, but a damaged windshield can refract sunlight and create distracting visual distortions.

5. Keep Your Dash Clear

Avoid placing objects on your dashboard that could reflect sunlight into your eyes. Even small items can create glare under the right conditions, making the situation that much worse.

6. Slow Down

Reduce your speed when driving into bright sunlight. If you can’t see the road properly, slower speeds will give you more time to react to unexpected obstacles or changes in traffic conditions.

7. Increase Your Following Distance

Increase your following distance to at least 4 or 5 seconds. This gives you extra time to react if the car ahead suddenly brakes or encounters an obstacle due to reduced visibility. A couple of extra seconds can be the difference between a safe stop and a deadly rear end.

8. Use an Alternate Route

If possible, choose routes that minimize your exposure to the sun during peak glare times, such as avoiding east-facing routes in the early morning or west-facing routes in the late afternoon.

9. Follow Road Markers

Much like driving into bright headlights at night, if sun glare is affecting your ability to see the road, following road markers can be a handy trick to staying in your lane. When visibility is poor, the lane markers and reflective paints will help guide your path forward.

10. Avoid the Worst Times or Pull Over if Necessary

Consider avoiding driving during times when sun glare is most intense. If you find yourself driving in blinding sunlight, and it becomes unsafe, don’t hesitate to pull over safely and wait until conditions improve.