Driving Safely Despite Sunlight Glare

We’ve experienced a few unseasonably warm days in Marietta and surrounding areas recently, with the sun making a welcome appearance as well.  While we all enjoy a break from the bitter cold metro-Atlanta weather, bright sunlight can be dangerous while operating a vehicle.

If you’ve ever driven into glaring sunlight on I-75, you know just how incapacitating it can be, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.  Package that with the high level of traffic in the Marietta area during those travel times and it’s a recipe for disaster.

We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for driving safely in direct sunlight, should you face this obstacle on Georgia roadways:

  • Quality sunglasses.  It can be difficult to pass up on a fashionable and inexpensive pair of sunglasses, but these cheap lenses are typically not ideal for driving in direct sunlight.  Quality sunglasses not only reduce bright sunrays, but will also protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.  This is especially true with polarized sunglasses.  Polarization reduces glare from the sun and are strongly recommended while driving.
  • Use your sun visor.  Sun visors are made specifically to increase safety when sun glare is a problem, but many drivers forget to utilize them.  Most vehicle sun visors are designed to block direct sunlight, as well as the brightness coming from the left or right sides of the vehicle.  Many drivers use their sun visors as a storage location for papers, mail and other materials, making it less effective when needing to block direct sunlight while driving.
  • Maintain a safe distance.  Bright light reduces visibility and reaction time, just as much if not more so than wet or icy roadways.  So, it’s important to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and those in front of you when the sun is especially bright.  This allows for more response time in the event of sudden braking.
  • Clean your windows.  Glares and overall dirtiness on windshields, side windows and rear windows are much more noticeable when the sun is bright.  These glares can be enhanced drastically by sunlight and can easily cause an accident due to decreased visibility.  This is a very simple way to avoid the possibility of a crash, so make sure your vehicles’ windshields are clean of dirt, debris, and smudges.
  • It’s alright to pull over.  If the sun is especially bright and bothersome while driving, don’t be afraid to pull over in a safe location to allow your eyes time to rest.  A simple ten to fifteen-minute rest can allow your eyes to readjust and not be as affected by the sunlight.  Taking this precaution is worth the extra travel time when it means the difference in an auto accident and arriving at your destination safely.

These tips may seem obvious, but many automobile accidents are due to drivers not being properly prepared for sun glares.  It can only take a second of obstruction while driving to cause a crash, and sunlight glares can last longer than one might think.  Keep the above tips in mind and enjoy the sun rather than letting it be a factor in a potential auto accident.