Picture this: it’s 5 p.m. and you’re driving home after a long day of work when you notice a beautiful sunset. It’s so beautiful that you even consider taking out your phone and snapping a picture (while stopped of course!) That is, until it hits the perfect spot in the sky to create a glare, rendering you temporarily blind, making it hard (or impossible!) to see the road and other traffic. The sun is not so beautiful now…
There’s little you can do to avoid the sun – it will rise and set like clockwork! But there are some tips you can follow to ensure that driving into the sun doesn’t mean an accident. Here are some of the best:
Sunglasses! While this won’t completely fix the problem, it’s a great idea to stash a pair of sunglasses (polarized if possible) in your car. Keep them in an easy to reach spot and you can use them during sunrise and sunset to help reduce glare. Similar to sunglasses, your sun visor is there for a reason – use it! It can help to block out the sun completely.
Slow down. We know, it seems like many of our safety tips recommend slowing down. But for good reason! Driving slowly is safer for everyone, and can especially be important when your eyesight may be limited. With limited visibility, driving slowly and scanning the road and surrounding areas for hazards and pedestrians is even more important.
Leave extra room. In addition to driving slowly, during sunrise and sunset it’s important to keep extra distance between yourself and other vehicles on the road. Limited light can actually affect depth perception! Because you may not be able to see what the car ahead of you is doing, you want to make sure you have plenty of extra room in case what they’re doing is slamming on their brakes.
Windshield. The windshield is your window to the outside, but it can easily get dirty. Sometimes you don’t even realize it’s dirty until the sunlight hits it and shows all the smudges from dirt and debris. Keeping your windshield clean – inside and out – can mean your visibility is improved during sunrise and sunset. Try giving it a quick clean once a week. You should also avoid storing papers or leaving other items on top of the dashboard as it can limit visibility as well.
Turn on your headlights. This may seem like a weird one – the sun is coming up, why do you need your headlights, but it’s not necessarily for you. Turning on headlights means that your taillights are visible as well, making it easier for other vehicles on the road to see you. Make sure that your lights are clean as well – clean them about once a month or so!
Don’t be afraid to pull over. If you can’t see, don’t drive! If the glare is impairing your vision completely, don’t be afraid to pull over. Do so safely and slowly pull off the road, into a parking lot if possible. If may only take a few moments for your eyes to adjust and vision to be restored.
It’s impossible to avoid, but with a few slight adjustments, driving during sunrise and sunset can be safe and easy!