How to Prevent Sun Glare Accidents
One of the most disruptive situations as a driver is getting hit with bright and blinding sunlight. This happens most often during the fall and winter months when the sunrise and sunset times tend to correspond closely with morning and evening rush hours. There are few circumstances more annoying than making a turn or rounding a corner and getting nearly blinded by sun glare, and it makes driving far more dangerous.
Sun glare causes or contributes to numerous auto accidents each year, and according to a comprehensive National Institute of Health (NIH) study, bright sunlight is present in approximately one-third of all crashes that occur during daylight hours. The exact number of sun glare accidents is difficult to determine, however, because glare from the sun is not always listed as a cause of accident on police reports.
Is a Driver Liable for Causing a Sun Glare Accident?
The short answer to this question is, “generally yes.” Although sunlight is a natural occurrence, it is not in the same category as events like earthquakes, mudslides, and animals that jump out in front of vehicles. The latter types of events are considered “acts of God” because they are rare and unpredictable, and a driver is not reasonably expected to know when something like this is going to happen.
Sunlight, by contrast, is an everyday occurrence, and it is not difficult to find out approximately what time the sun is going to rise and set each day. Since drivers are expected to use reasonable care at all times during the course of operating their vehicles, this would include properly preparing for sunrise and sunset and the blinding sunlight that might accompany these events.
Tips for Avoiding Sun Glare Accidents
Although you may not be able to completely avoid dealing with bright sunlight when you drive, there are several ways that you can mitigate its effects:
- Make Full Use of Sun Visors: Using your sun visors correctly can significantly reduce the glare that you have to deal with. This could mean pointing the visor out toward the windshield or moving it around to the side to block glare from the driver’s or passenger side window. You might also want to consider purchasing a sun visor extender that will help further reduce the glare.
- Wear the Right Sunglasses: When dealing with bright sunlight, polarized sunglasses are the best kind to wear.
- Keep your Windshield and Dashboard Clean: Before you start driving, make sure your dashboard is cleared off and your windshield is clean and free of streaks that may obstruct your view. Along the same lines, be sure you have plenty of washer fluid in your reservoir, and if your wiper blades have too much damage or wear and tear, replace them with a new pair.
- Slow Down: As soon as you encounter sun glare, the first thing you should do is reduce your speed. Bright sunlight makes it very difficult to see everything in front of you, and the slower you travel, the more time you will have to effectively react if any problems arise.
- Give Plenty of Space to Others on the Road: As you travel slower, allow plenty of space for other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Sun glare creates difficulty with judging the distance between your vehicle and other vehicles and objects, so try to stay at least a car length away from others on the road.
- Modify your Route and Driving Schedule: Sometimes, just a little tweak in your drive time could help you avoid times of peak sun glare. For example, maybe it would be possible to leave for work five minutes earlier or five minutes later. Another possible adjustment may be to alter your route, so you are traveling mostly on north/south roads where the sunlight does not hit you directly.
- Avoid Unnecessary Distractions: As in all driving situations, put your phone down and do not send or read texts or other types of electronic messages. When you know you are likely to encounter sun glare, you should also refrain from other distractions such as eating or drinking.
Injured in a Sun Glare Accident in Virginia? Contact a Skilled and Knowledgeable Auto Accident Lawyer
Although you may follow all of the best practices, you cannot control what other drivers might do. If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, the attorneys at the law offices of Buck, Toscano & Terezkerz are ready to go to work for you. To schedule a free consultation, message us online or call our office today at (434) 977-7977.