Motoring experts, Vanarama, warn UK motorists to be extra vigilant whilst driving in low sunlight.
As we draw closer to the winter months, many UK drivers have been noticing severe changes to their daily commutes. This includes the typical colder morning starts and on-off rain, but also a dramatic shift in lighting and visibility.
Low sunlight is a typical cause of strong glare across a windscreen, making it difficult for a driver to have their full view of the road ahead of them. This can ultimately result in not having proper control over a vehicle, as frontal vision is obstructed. An issue could leave drivers facing a £1,000 fine and 3 points on their licence.
CEO and founder of Vanarama, Andy Alderson, added to this further, commenting that as of “the clocks going back, UK drivers will be faced with low sunlight in peak road times… if drivers are not prepared for driving in low sunlight, they could put themselves and other road users in danger.
Alderson advises that “to prevent being dazzled by the low sun when driving, motorists should check their windscreen is clean before setting off, wear polarised sunglasses, and keep a safe distance from other drivers when the sun is distorting their view.”
These are a handful of top, best-practice tips, however, it’s also important to take extra care of other aspects too. For example, driving in wet conditions.
Something that many drivers aren’t aware of is that low sun driving conditions are made worse when the road is wet. In fact, as highlighted in Teletrac Navman’s Road Safety Data Dashboard, the number of accidents on wet or damp roads had a much higher rate than flood, frost, ice or even snow. This simply is due to the sun reflecting off the damp surface, creating a stronger glare that makes judging stopping distances and seeing hazards even more difficult.
It also increases the likelihood of dirt and mud gathering on the windscreen, magnifying the suns glare and clogging view. Bearing this in mind, always keeping your windscreen wash topped up is also a best practice.
For many drivers, immediate instinct when the sun glare is too much is to simply lower their visor, but when the road angles off and the sun changes position, some drivers may automatically think their visor is useless. This actually isn’t the case, as many may not actually know that a visor can change position. For example, if the sun is to the right of a driver rather than straight ahead, the visor can be popped out of its left-hand hook, and positioned to cover the drivers side window instead.
Of course, visors will reduce the amount of sun that is blocking your vision when driving, and they also help your eyes adjust when driving in shade after driving in low sunlight. Though in some cases, a sun visor can’t block all the low sun from entering your vision.
As Alderson advises, having a pair of sunglasses with you when driving should be an essential. Polarised lenses are a safer option over normal lenses as they are more effective at combating sun glare. This is because they filter out the incoming horizontal light that causes glare only allow in vertical light that improves visibility.
And finally, the most common advice for drivers is to always leave extra space between you and the car in front.
When low sunlight causes a glare across the windscreen which lowers visibility of the road, you should slow down and create extra space between you and the car ahead of you. This is to simply give you more time to assess the road situation.
If drivers feel like they do not have full control of the situation they should pull over when safe to do so.