You know to slow down for snow and rain and use caution when lightning strikes, but many drivers think nothing of bright sunlight. However, this glare of light can make it difficult to see far ahead and even temporarily blind drivers, resulting in anything from a fender-bender to a multi-car crash.

At certain times of the year, sun glare intensifies. In spring, the sun reaches its lowest position during morning and evening rush hours, increasing the chances you’ll have to deal with glare behind the wheel.

How Dangerous is Sunlight?

There are several reasons sunlight and subsequent glare pose hazards on the road:

  • Unlike in rain or snow, a driver briefly blinded by sunlight often does not know how to react. As a result, he or she continues to drive as is – even at a fast speed or close to other motorists.
  • Because of the glare, there is a greater chance that you’ll drive through a stop sign, crosswalk or red light. These mistakes increase accident risks with other drivers and pedestrians.
    glare occurs at peak driving times when more motorists are sharing the road.
  • In addition to the glare, a motorist must consider inattentive pedestrians. According to an AA road study, pedestrians walking with their backs to drivers have a 10.8-percent greater chance of being struck by a car. Those who walk in the opposite direction, where they can see the passing cars, have a 5.9-percent greater chance of getting hit.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, it is difficult to be a defensive driver when there is sun glare. To be as safe as you can on the roads, be sure to consider the following:

  • Drive like you’re in the snow. Specifically, give yourself more distance to brake or slow down.
  • Have a pair of polarized sunglasses on hand to fight the glare.
  • Keep your windshield, mirrors and all windows clean. Chemical and dirt deposits worsen the glare, making it harder to see the cars in front and to the side of you.
  • Take a different route. When the sun is high in the sky, the glare tends to be more pronounced on routes that run east to west. Avoid these streets, instead taking ones with more shade.
  • Keep the dashboard clean, as papers and other clutter can intensify sun glare too. Also, lighter-colored dashboards can create more of a reflection.
  • Keep your headlights on. Believe it or not, this actually helps other drivers see you better!
  • If you’re blinded and can’t see ahead, pull over to the side of the road until it looks safe to drive.

What Happens If You Get Into an Accident?

Even if the glare blinds you for a moment, but you hit another motorist, you’re still responsible for the damage. In a case like this, it’s assumed that you’re taking appropriate precautions when the sun is out and know which times it is at its brightest.

Did temporary blindness from the sun contribute to your motor vehicle accident? If you’re now dealing with time off work, medical bills and an insurance company that won’t adequately compensate you, Trantolo & Trantolo is here to help. To learn more, contact one of our car accident attorneys today.