Now that it is officially autumn, our daylight is progressively shrinking into the night. Currently around this time of year, we have pretty close to equal parts sunshine and darkness. As a result, the sun glare tends to be at its strongest during peak driving hours for Long Islanders heading to and from work. This is especially the case for those driving eastbound in the morning and westbound at night, since the sun will be directly beaming on their vehicles during the entire commute.
Although sun glare happens throughout the year, it is the most dangerous during the fall and spring due to the high amounts of drivers who are potentially blinded by its light. Therefore, it’s important to account for this and use safe driving tactics to avoid getting into a motor vehicle accident. Here are some tips to drive safely despite the sun glare.
Sun glasses are a sure fire way to reduce the possibility of being blinded by the sun. That is, assuming that the sunglasses are polarized. Polarized sunglasses can effectively block the sun’s rays from blinding you, as well as prevent eye strain. Always keeping a pair of polarized sunglasses in your car will leave you prepared for sun glare at any given time.
This goes without saying, but sun visors are there for a reason. Avoid having things on your sun visor or windshield that prevent it from being used properly. The goal is to have it block the sun glare while also having it block your field of vision by as little as possible.
When the sun is particularly strong during traffic, it is not the time to be cutting people off or tailgating. Not only is your visibility and reaction time worsened by the sun, but so are the other drivers. Do not count on them for seeing or anticipating what you are doing, because their vision may be partially blinded as well. Therefore, be patient, slow down, and leave space between you and the car in front of you. Maybe your commute is a little slower, but it would be much slower if you got into a car accident for driving recklessly.
Sun glare makes it hard enough to see, but a dirty windshield amplifies that. Spots and debris on your windshield can actually act like a veil if the sun hits it. In addition to cleaning it, ensure that you have windshield wiper fluid so that you can quickly rinse off your windshield to get the dirt off while driving.
This is helpful for oncoming traffic, and is something you should do even if you yourself aren’t getting sun glare. Since the visibility of the drivers going in the opposite direction is impaired, having your headlights on will allow them to see your vehicle easily. This is really helpful for drivers who have to make a left turns at an intersection, but have to face a heavy glare from the sun.
Hopefully, these tips help your commute home from work a little safer despite the beaming sun. It’s important to note that once the sun goes down, we advise you to take your sunglasses off. Wearing sunglasses at night is perhaps more dangerous than temporary sun glare. Take precaution and do what you can to keep you and your family safe.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.