Driving with Low Sun
Low Sun and Sun Glare
Driving in the winter months means having to deal with a low sun. This leads to sun glare which, even for just a couple of seconds can leave you unable to see ahead of you and has on several occasions, lead to accidents and fatalities.
We've listed the problems and types you may encounter whilst out driving... leaving you better prepared to deal with it.
Having the sun low in the sky, means it is often in, or just on the edge, of your eye-line. This can make it quite tiring to drive in, as lots more concentration than normal is needed. Added to this is the problem that your sun visor, even when fully down, may not actually block the sun out.
SUN GLARE From Ahead
When the sun is at an angle where you cannot block it completely, this is known as Sun-Glare. The problem with this is, as the sun suddenly appears in your eye-line, it either makes you squint, close your eyes, or just for a second or to makes it unable for you to see anything that is ahead.
There are a few things you can do to help :-
- keep sunglasses in the car all year round - Anti Glare lenses are now more and more common - get these rather than normal sunglasses (see bottom of page)
Polaroid - From Specsavers
These high tech lenses give superior vision in bright light. They eliminate 99.9% of horizontal glare and filter 100% UV light. Much favoured by anglers, yachtsmen and professional drivers.
- low sun and dirty windscreens means more risk of being dazzled as the sun catches the dirt on the screen
- clean your windows - inside and out -- and mirrors at least once a week
- keep your washer bottles topped up with screenwash
- change your windscreen wipers every year
- if the sun is behind you, it's in the eyes of drivers coming towards you and they might not see you
- don't look directly at the sun
Sun Glare from behind
Sometimes the sun glare you get is when the sun is behind you, and reflects through your centre mirror.
This can also be hard to deal with particuarly if there is a lot going on in the road ahead. You need to be aware that on-coming vehicles may not see you properly and that the sun in your rear view mirror, may make the brake lights or the indicator of the vehicle ahead harder to see
- keep an eye on the vehicle behind, in case you're not seen against the sun
- low sun behind can dazzle you through your mirrors so be ready to dip the mirror and check over your shoulder for vehicles in your blind spot
- if you see shadows ahead across your path, make sure you can see into them and slow down before you reach them
Sun Glare From The Road
This is possibly the hardest one to deal with.
This is when the road is wet and the sun glare is coming UP from the road and into your eyes. The only thing to do is slow down and give yourself more time to try and see whats ahead of you.
But once again the value of having anti-glare or polarized sunglasses in the car cannot be underestimated
Polarized Vs. Nonpolarized
Nearly every pair of sunglasses you buy gives your eyes at least some protection from the sun's harsh rays. The level of protection varies widely, but even the most bargain basement pair of tinted lenses offers a bit of shade for your eyes. Polarized lenses take what nonpolarized lenses do -- protect your eyes from harmful UV rays -- a step further. Polarized lenses are specially designed to protect your eyes from horizontal glare created by the sun. Think of the glare created when the sun hits the bonnet of your car. With a nonpolarized lens, that glare will bounce right at you. Although it will be dimmed compared to looking at it without any sunglasses, it will still shine in your eyes. Polarized lenses filter out that glare, protecting your eyes and making it easier to see.
Polarized lenses give your eyes better protection against harmful rays. Beyond that, polarized sunglasses give you better vision in bright sunlight. Nonpolarized lenses dim everything you see, so you lose some definition. Polarized lenses filter light more effectively, keeping your vision crisp. The antiglare effect makes driving on a sunny day much easier, since the reflection of the sun off your car and the cars around you won't be an issue. Polarized lenses can make seeing during water sports easier, too, since the sun's reflection on the water won't cloud your vision.