Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Winter has hit South Africa and with it comes the dangers of the driving glare. According to a UK report by the AA, the glare of the setting sun during rush hour is to blame for nearly 3 000 accidents every year with drivers at risk of being temporarily ‘blinded’ by the dazzle of the sun on the windscreen.

“The South African AA agrees that dangerous conditions are caused by glare resulting from intense sunlight reflected from the road surface, bonnet, windscreen or dashboard of your car.  This danger is particularly high at this time of year as the sun sets just as most drivers are heading home from work,” says 1st for Women Insurance’s Executive Head, Robyn Farrell.

A dazzling sunset is particularly dangerous when the road turns unexpectedly into it or the glare appears from behind trees or buildings or by reflection. Blind spots created by sun glare and the distance perception problems that are created are the cause of countless accidents. Driving directly against the sun can also block peripheral areas of vision and cause sudden moments of blindness as the sun peeks out from behind surrounding objects.

Underestimating the power of the sun’s rays at this time of day is a mistake and 1st for Women Insurance urges drivers to be extra-vigilant at this time of year when it comes to joggers, dog walkers and pedestrians as these groups are almost twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents if they are not facing oncoming traffic.

Here are some tips from 1st for Women when it comes to driving with a glare:

  • Keep your windscreen clean – inside and outside. Avoid using a vinyl-based cleaner on your dashboard, which can turn the surface into a mirror. Dust particles and other foreign objects on your windscreen can reflect and distort light too.
  • Don’t buy a car with a light-colored dashboard. Coupled with the slope of the windshield, a light-colored dashboard can be extremely reflective.
  • Many sun glare accidents happen in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is on the horizon and little protection is offered by a car’s sun visor.
  • If possible, try to plan your travel so that you’re not travelling in a glare. The closer the sun is to the horizon, the worse the glare will be.
  • Be sensible enough to slow down immediately when you’re being dazzled by the sun. It may be tempting to carry on regardless until the glare passes, but rather don’t.
  • If you’re driving at sunset, anticipate the effects of glare on you and other drivers.
  • Never overtake into low sunlight when the road ahead is obscured as this risks disaster.
  • It’s essential to wear a good pair of sunglasses that are dark enough to cut the glare. We specifically recommend polarised sunglasses.

Farrell concludes by saying, “The easiest way to counteract the glare is by never forgetting your sunnies! Keep a spare pair in your glove compartment in case you do.”

« Go Back