Sun glare is a relatively lesser-known road hazard that pops up when least expected. However, sudden bright sunlight carries the potential danger of turning a perfectly routine drive into a precarious challenge. Glare-induced momentary blindness has been known to cause devastating car crashes resulting in severe injuries or fatalities.
The problem is exacerbated during the winter months when the sun is at a somewhat lower elevation and the sunlight reflects off the ice and snow on the ground, catching drivers unaware. Although people seldom think of sun glare as a traffic hazard, bright sunlight can have devastating consequences if you are not careful.
Are Sun Glare Accidents Really All That Common?
Although it is not easy to ascertain the exact number of glare-induced accidents each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports show that sun glare is primarily responsible for only a few hundred accidents every year in the United States.
However, as per road safety organizations such as AAA, this figure is a gross underestimation, and the actual number is likely to be much higher. One of the main reasons for under-reported or inaccurate data could be that the sun is seldom the only cause for an accident, temporary blinding the driver to another hazard that is then probably listed as the primary cause.
According to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study done from 1995 to 2014, sun glare or bright sunlight could be a contributor in approximately one-third of all automobile accidents that occur during daylight hours, suggesting that sun glare is a far bigger hazard than we realize.
What is My Fault in a Sun Glare Accident?
Bright sunlight can disrupt your driving, making it very hard to notice cars suddenly applying brakes, or pedestrians and bicyclists crossing in front of you. Sunlight or sun glare is a natural phenomenon, but unfortunately, you as the driver cannot use act of God as a valid defense if you ever cause a sun glare-induced accident.
Acts of God would include extraordinary and unforeseen natural events that cannot be avoided under any circumstances, such as landslides, earthquakes, or a deer suddenly appearing in front of your car. Although sunlight and glare are natural occurrences, they are also very predictable everyday events.
The sunrise and sunset have a specific time every day, and you can find that out easily from a weather report. This makes us responsible to take into account the possibility of bright sunlight or blinding glare and exercise caution while driving in such conditions.
Ways to Counter Sun Glare and Prevent Accidents
Here is a list of several things you can do to ensure you are adequately prepared in case of sudden encounters with sun glare:
- Clean your windshield and keep it free of dust and grime. The windshield can scatter sunlight in the day and other cars’ headlights at night, making it harder for you to see.
- Ensure that you have sufficient windshield washer fluid, and regularly check your wipers to see if they need replacement. Replace them when required.
- Always leave sufficient room between your vehicle and the one in front, to create enough braking space.
- Polarized sunglasses reduce glare to a great extent. Use them while driving in bright sunlight.
- Make sure your windshield is not cracked or pitted, as it could make the glare worse.
- Turning on your headlights when the sun is behind you and low in the sky can help cars coming from the opposite direction see you better.
- Use your car’s sun visors and install additional sun visor extenders to help block out more of the sun.
- Avoid driving at those times in the day when the sun is at its lowest in the sky and sun glare is at its worst, which is one hour before sunset and one hour after sunrise.
- Try taking a route where tall trees and buildings will block the sun glare.
- If possible, modify your driving route in such a manner as to reduce your East/West driving to minimize exposure to sun glare.
Injured in a Sun Glare Accident? Contact Frank M. Wilson in Montgomery, AL for Strong Legal Representation
No matter how much caution we exercise while driving, we cannot have control over the negligent behavior of other road users. If you or a loved one sustained injuries in a sun glare accident caused by someone else’s negligence or gross misconduct, you deserve full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
The law office of Frank M. Wilson is available for a free consultation to assess the circumstances of your case. Call us today at (334) 420-2931 or message us online to evaluate your case discuss your legal rights and options.