A beautiful afternoon drive can take a sharp turn for the worse as soon as the sun sinks below your visor. Driving into the sun is sometimes unavoidable and almost never enjoyable thanks to eye searing sun glare.
When the sun is low in the horizon, the angle of the direct sunlight creates a strong glare across the windshield. The bright light can cause temporary blindness that distorts traffic control devices and makes it difficult to see the cars around you. It’s hard to say exactly how many vehicle accidents are caused by sun glare every year, but across the pond in the U.K., the Automobile Association (AA) estimates sun glare causes over 2,900 accidents annually on British roads.
Next time you find yourself squinting into blindingly bright sunlight, use the tips below to overcome the sun glare and stay safe.
The first rule of driving through a sun glare is to slow down - way down. Lack of visibility inhibits your ability to react quickly, so going a bit slower can help you avoid an accident. Slow down to the speed you would drive if you were in a rainstorm or driving through thick fog.
Put More Room Between Yourself and Other Vehicles
When visibility is reduced it’s also important to stay a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. It’s going to be difficult to see what is going on around you and there’s a greater risk that other drivers will hit the brakes suddenly.
Figure Out a Sun Glare-Free Route or Time
When sun glare becomes a regular occurrence on your daily commute, it may be time to find another route. Routes that run north or south will keep you from traveling directly into the sun and getting hit by its reflection in your mirrors. Routes that are surrounded by tall buildings or trees can also help block sun glare.
Another option is to adjust your schedule so you avoid times when sun glare is at its worse, which is usually an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise.
Wear Polarized Sunglasses While Driving
Keep a pair of polarized sunglasses in your car and you can instantly reduce inescapable sun glare. Polarized sunglasses are made with a special filter in the lens that can block intensely reflected light. They’re particularly effective while driving through snowy areas where sun glare is the most extreme.
Tint the Windows
If you were thinking about tinting your vehicle’s windows, reduced sun glare could be one of the benefits. In states that don’t allow darkened windshields you can still use a clear film that blocks UV and infrared light to cut down on glare.
Keep the Windshield Clean
Dirt on the windows can scatter light making it even more difficult to see when there’s a sun glare. Before you head out make sure the windows are clean inside and out. Wipe the windshield down to remove any remaining residue and finish with a coat of white vinegar to minimize residue build up.
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