How should I drive when the sun is very bright?

Driving in the sun isn’t often seen as being extremely dangerous. However, there are moments depending on the sun rising or setting and the direction in which it is pointing towards, when the glare can be so extreme, you can almost see nothing.

Although there are potential hazards, it doesn’t mean that driving in the sun should be avoided. Knowing what to do when this happens is essential if you want to avoid a potential accident and be fully prepared for intense glare. Take a look our top tips to enjoy driving in the warmer weather, while still remaining a safe driver.

Tips For Driving In The Sun

Take a look at our top tips for driving in the sun to avoid potentially dangerous situations.

  • Reduce your speed if the sun is low: This applies to potentially hazardous areas such as high streets with lots of sudden possible activity such as pedestrians walking out between parked cars, cars pulling out and more. Also country roads, bends and areas with the dead ground are common areas for an accident when the sun is low.
  • Use of arm signals: Rarely used nowadays, however, if the sun is very low and you are concerned about the vehicle behind or in front not being able to see your indicators clearly, then an arm signal will reinforce the direction you want to go in. By using arm signals, you are being a defensive driver and preventing others from having a potential accident because the may not have seen you.
  • Reduce your following distance: The same as if you were driving in the fog. Your following distance should be dictated by what you can see. There is no given rule to gauge the gap you should leave while following a vehicle in the sun. However, just think to yourself “If the vehicle in front braked suddenly, could I stop in time?” If the answer is no, then increase your overall stopping distance.

Can Driving In The Sun Be Dangerous?

driveJohnson’s instructor Pete Spiller who provides driving lessons in Bedford had a very close call in 2017 regarding following distance and driving in the sun.

Pete was instructing a driving lesson in the sun with a pupil who was following a van when suddenly a huge bulk of paperwork flew out of the driver’s window. The van driver suddenly stopped, as he could no longer check his interior mirror. However, unfortunately, the pupil failed to reach in time to the very rare incident, so Pete had to take control. Obviously, the van driver shouldn’t have suddenly stopped, but where he was playing around with his sun visor, all his paperwork flew out of the window. Although Pete had to take control of the pupil’s reaction time wasn’t quick enough, the pupil, luckily had good following distance, so no serious accident occurred.

So, keep your following distance considerably greater when the sun is proving to be a glare.

Sun Glare In A Car

How To Stop The Sun From Limiting Visibility

  • Use the sun visor: All sun visors come down, however, you can change the angle of most of them. If your sun visor isn’t covering the sun enough, if your car has the ability to, then consider increasing the height of your seat (this may apply to short people more than taller people). Be wary that the sun visor also creates blind spots. The pillars between your windscreen are blind spots; however, as you are used to them and would have been taught to drive with these always in place, you unconsciously work around them. The sun visor is an added blind spot you will need to take into consideration and drive accordingly if it is restricting your view.
  • Tinted windows: Not a quick solution but most definitely a long-term one, especially if you do a lot of driving miles a week and rely on your car heavily. Tinted windows will also make your car feel cooler when you first enter on warmer days meaning that the reliance on aircon will be slightly less.
  • Use sunglasses to reduce glare: It’s an obvious one but most drivers of guilty of not keeping a pair of sunglasses int he car. Get yourself a cheap pair of glasses and keep them in your car in case you forget your designer ones in the house.
  • Keep your windows clean: Smeary windows at first, do not seem too bad but the moment the sun lowers it considerably reduce your visibility. Make sure your windscreen wash is topped up, and your wipers are in good working order, so any signs of dirt can be easily removed immediately.
  • Keep your dashboard clear: As strange as it sounds, clutter on your dashboard, especially if it is light in colour such as paper, can increase glare. The sun will reflect against the surface and make the glare more intense, greatly decreasing visibility. So if you are one of the many drivers who seem to always accumulate more and more rubbish in your car, this will give you even more of an initiative to give it a clean!
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