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Driving Safety & Sun Glare


Sun Glare: What Is It & Why Should Drivers Be Aware of It?

Sun glare refers to the intense light reflected from the sun's rays, often off a car's windshield or other shiny surfaces. While sun glare can be a contributing factor in an accident, it doesn't necessarily absolve the driver of liability.

Drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles with due care and caution. If sun glare is a predictable occurrence on a specific route or time of day, drivers are expected to anticipate the hazard and adjust their driving accordingly.

Dangers of Driving Into the Sun

If you are driving toward the sun, you should be aware of the following risks that sun glare poses to you and other drivers:

  • Reduced visibility. Glare can make it difficult to see the road ahead, including potential hazards like stopped vehicles, pedestrians, or oncoming traffic. This diminished sight significantly increases the risk of a collision.
  • Delayed reaction times. Glare can cause temporary blindness or impairment, hindering a driver's ability to react swiftly to changing situations. This delay can be catastrophic in time-sensitive scenarios.
  • Misjudgment of distances. The intensity of glare can distort a driver's perception of depth and distance, leading to miscalculated following distances or unsafe lane changes.

When Is Sun Glare the Worst?

While many people think spring presents the most danger for sun glare, it can actually be more problematic in the winter because of the:

  • Angle of the sun. In winter, the sun follows a lower trajectory across the sky. This means it spends more time in a position that directly shines into a driver's eyes, especially during morning and evening commutes. Spring sunshine tends to have a higher angle, reducing the likelihood of blinding glare.
  • Shorter days. Winter's shorter daylight hours increase the chances of encountering sun glare during commutes.

However, spring does have some factors that can make sun glare a nuisance:

  • Clearer skies. Spring often brings clearer skies compared to winter, allowing for stronger sunlight that can be reflected more intensely.
  • Dirty windshield. After a winter of rain, sleet, and salt, windshields might be grimy in spring, and South Carolinians know that pollen can be a major issue between February and June. The yellow film left by pollen, as well as the dirt and debris. can scatter sunlight, worsening glare.

How to Stay Safe Through Sun Glare

Here are some steps drivers can take to mitigate the risks of sun glare and potentially avoid liability in an accident:

  • Pay attention to your speed. Reduce your speed significantly when encountering sun glare to allow for increased reaction time.
  • Use your sun visor. Adjust the sun visor to block direct sunlight while maintaining a view of the road.
  • Invest in some sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses help reduce glare by filtering out scattered light rays.
  • Leave a good amount of distance between you and other vehicles. Increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one ahead to account for potentially obscured vision.
  • Clean your windshield. As we mentioned, dirty windshields can make sun glare harder to navigate, so it’s important that you take the time to clean your windshield.
  • Plan your route. Before beginning your commute, consider what routes will allow you to avoid sun glare. For instance, traveling north or south lets you avoid traveling directly in line with the sun, and traveling in areas with a lot of trees or taller buildings can help you avoid sun glare.

For Experienced Counsel, Call (843) 968-0886

Should you or a loved one suffer injuries in a sun glare accident or because of someone else’s recklessness or negligence, the team at Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC is here to help. Working on a contingency fee basis (which means you don’t pay us our fees unless we win), we offer clients comprehensive, reliable counsel.

Schedule an initial consultation today!

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