How driv­ers can stay safe in bright con­di­tions

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - AUTOMOTIVE - By Metro Cre­ative Ser­vices

Weather of­ten con­trib­utes to mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents. Snow, rain and other fac­tors that com­pro­mise driv­ers’ vi­sion can make driv­ing haz­ardous, but there’s a dark side to sunny skies as well.

Glare from the sun can com­pro­mise driv­ers’ vi­sion and lead to driv­ing mishaps, re­gard­less of driv­ers’ ex­pe­ri­ence or skill level. The sun can pack a pow­er­ful punch any time dur­ing the day, but can be es­pe­cially haz­ardous in the early morn­ing sun­rise and late-af­ter­noon sun­set.

A 2017 study pub­lished in the jour­nal Medicine ti­tled, “Lifethreat­en­ing mo­tor ve­hi­cle crashes in bright sun­light” looked at the risks posed by bright sun­light. Re­searchers found that the risk of a life-threat­en­ing crash was 16 per­cent higher dur­ing bright sun­light than dur­ing nor­mal weather. Re­searchers con­cluded that bright sun­light may create vis­ual il­lu­sions that lead to driver er­ror, in­clud­ing poor dis­tance judge­ment.

Plen­ti­ful sun­light is of­ten a hall­mark of spring and sum­mer, but sun-blind­ness is a real con­cern for driv­ers. As any­one who has turned into blaz­ing sun only to dis­cover their wind­shield has been ren­dered opaque by sun glare can at­test, driv­ing on sunny days can be chal­leng­ing. Un­for­tu­nately, the sun might create sub­stan­tial glare dur­ing rush hour, mak­ing driv­ing dur­ing these times more dan­ger­ous and ac­ci­dents more likely.

While there might be no way to pre­vent glare, driv­ers can take steps to make driv­ing safer dur­ing times of day when glare is preva­lent.

-- Make sure the wind­shield is clean. Wa­ter marks, dead in­sects, cracks, and road grime can make it even harder to see out of the wind­shield when the sun is blaz­ing. Clean wind­shields reg­u­larly, and don’t wait un­til you’re head-on into the sun to en­gage the wind­shield washer spray. Do­ing so may only fur­ther com­pro­mise vis­i­bil­ity.

-- Ob­serve speed lim­its. When glare is present, slow down and keep more space be­tween your ve­hi­cle and the ve­hi­cle in front of you. If some­one in front of you needs to brake sud­denly, the greater dis­tance be­tween ve­hi­cles can give you more time to re­act and avoid ac­ci­dents.

-- Change your route. Try chang­ing your com­mute so you’re not driv­ing head-on into eastern sun in the morn­ing and western sun in the af­ter­noon.

-- In­vest in new sun­glasses. Spe­cial lenses that mit­i­gate glare, UV rays and blue light can make it eas­ier for driv­ers to han­dle glare when be­hind the wheel.

-- Make sure the vi­sor is func­tion­ing. Sun vi­sors are there for a rea­son. Use it to the best of your abil­ity, an­gling as needed.

-- Pull over. If the glare is es­pe­cially bad, Ply­mouth Rock As­sur­ance sug­gests play­ing it safe and pulling over un­til the sun rises or sets. You also may want to change your driv­ing time to avoid the glare.

Mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents can hap­pen on bright, sunny days. Glare can com­pro­mise driv­ers’ vis­i­bil­ity, and driv­ers may need to take steps to pro­tect their vi­sion on sunny days.

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