Snowy weather and icy roads may create their share of car collisions, but sun glare can be a hazard that few people anticipate. There are certain driving hazards that people often expect when getting behind the wheel, including slippery roads, an animal darting out or reduced visibility due to driving rains. But sun glare may not be something drivers expect to contribute to hazardous conditions.
Driving into the sunset might sound romantic, but sometimes it's the most beautiful things that can cause the most problems - and that's particularly true when it comes to the stunning but low winter sun.
Countless collisions have occurred due to blind spots created by sun glare and the distance perception problems that are created. 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.
As the Country is taking over by Operation Transformation, many slower and more vulnerable road users - joggers, dog walkers, pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders - will be trying to take advantage of the last of the short evenings. All road users need to be fully aware of the potential twilight dangers,".
"Joggers, dog walkers, workers returning home on foot and other pedestrians walking with their backs to vehicles are almost twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents
European research also shows that the rate of head-on crashes involving lorries nearly quadruples in twilight conditions. Although up to 10% of accidents in which trucks leave the road, roll over, hit each other head on or up the back happen in twilight conditions, up to 40% of head-on accidents with cars happen when the sun is low in the sky. They also tend to happen on rural roads."
Please look out for cyclists and pedestrians
Mayo Co. Co., Road Safety Officer Noel Gibbons said: "We can't change the position of the sun, or the need to travel at certain times, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure you're prepared for these conditions."
"Keep your windscreen clean, both inside and out. On de-mist, your heater blows traffic fumes, suspended oil and smoke onto the inside of the screen, and wet roads add dirt and scratches to the outside."
"Dirty windscreens add to the danger when the sun is low. If you can't see, slow down accordingly, keeping an eye on the traffic behind, in case the following vehicle doesn't see you against the sun. Also beware with these fine evenings there are more pedestrians and cyclists on the road "
To prevent sun glare from becoming a hazard when you're driving, consider these safety tips
- § Delay driving times to occur before or after sunrise or sunset.
- § Use polarized sunglasses that can help prevent glare.
- § Do not use high-gloss products on the dashboard, which can contribute to extra glare.
- § Keep the inside and outside of the windshield clean.
- § Make use of sun visors.
- § If glare is a problem, leave extra space between your car and others in the event of sudden stopping or other road hazards.
- § Drive slowly and be mindful of obstructions.
- § Try taking another route that goes in a different direction than the one from which the sun is shining.
- § Leave extra time so that you don't feel rushed getting to your destination.
- § Eye exams or surgery can make eyes more sensitive to the sunlight. Avoid driving after these appointments.