by Jason P. Berard, CHST, CSHO, CRIS Vice President, National Safety & Loss Prevention Manager
Cooler temperatures and changing foliage are all signals that fall is rapidly approaching; however, there is one other sign you may also have encountered too, and that's sun glare.
During the fall and winter months, the sun is lower on the horizon, making it extremely challenging to see out of your windshield. To make matters worse, the temporary blindness experienced by many motorists occurs during the morning and evening commutes. It affects our ability to see traffic lights, pedestrians, other vehicles, and navigate through work zones.
You can bet that if you are having issues seeing, then the drivers behind you are too; consequently, their ability to respond to your brake lights and turn signals are likely compromised. Abstaining from driving or changing your commuting route certainly are effective controls to eliminate the sun glare; however, this may be a feasible option for many drivers; therefore, implementing the best practices below may mitigate the hazardous effects.
As soon as sun glare is experienced, reduce your travel speed and increase your following distance. While these options may not be convenient, the after-effects of a crash are worse. AAA has offered TIPS to assist motorists when driving into the sun; they include1:
Drive with headlights on to increase visibility to other drivers.
Keep your windshield clean, inside and out.
Check your windshield for pits, cracks, and scratches. Have them repaired or replace the windshield if necessary.
Remove papers or other objects on the dashboard; doing so will reduce their reflection up onto the windshield.
Utilize your sun visor.
Consider purchasing a pair of polarized sunglasses that help to reduce glare.
Use the lane markings to help guide you when seeing the road is difficult.