How to Cut Sun Glare and Stay Safe

How to Cut Sun Glare and Stay Safe

Everyone has to deal with sun glare while they’re on the road. It’s an annoyance at best and dangerous at worst. Fortunately there are numerous ways that drivers can deal with the problem.

Having to deal with glare from the sun is an issue that every driver faces. It doesn’t even happen just when you’re driving in the direction of the sun. Reflections off mirrors and other vehicles can be just as much of an annoyance and hindrance while driving.

Sun glare, like anything else that obscures vision, can prove to be deadly to drivers. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,300 automotive and motorcycle deaths in 2012 were the result of glare or obscured vision. While glare is an everyday problem for those on the road, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Types of Sun Glare

According to the SF Gate, there are two types of sun glare: disability glare and discomfort glare.

Disability glare occurs when sunlight obscures an object, preventing you from seeing it. This the most common type of glare drivers experience. When driving, disability glare can come from windows and license plates of other vehicles. It also happens when driving in the direction of the sun, especially during sunrise and sunset.

Discomfort glare, on the other hand, is indirect. It’s the result of light entering your peripheral vision or when it reflects off of something like snow or water. Discomfort glare can also occur in the early morning or the late evening, when the sun is out but may not be bright. Too much discomfort glare entering your eye may disrupt your ability to focus on the road or the vehicle in front of you. Exposing your eyes to discomfort glare while driving for long periods not only makes it more difficult to focus, but also leads to headaches and eye fatigue.

Recognizing the different types of sun glare can help drivers deal with facing glare appropriately.

Preventing Glare

Keeping your travels glare-free requires a few simple steps. The AAA has compiled a list of tips for drivers on the road dealing with sun glare:

  • Flip your visor down – This is likely the simplest way to avoid disability glare. Most vehicles have visors above the driver and front passenger seats that can block glare from above and the sides. However, these may not work when the sun or source of glare is lower in your field of vision.
  • Keep your windows clean – Dirty windows can cause light to refract and obscure your vision. Using a microfiber cloth to clean the inside and outside of your windows at least once a week can prevent build-up of dirt and film.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses or eyeglasses with anti-reflective coating – Polarized and anti-reflective lenses can increase visibility despite sun glare. Polarized lenses can also protect eyes from physical damage from looking at intense light. And, always check to make sure that if you wear glasses the prescription is up-to-date.
  • Keep your eyes moving – If anti-reflective glasses are not available, keeping your eyes focused away from glare can be a temporary solution that could keep you from hampering your ability to see. The AAA recommends drivers who are not in the leftmost lane and can do so safely look slightly down toward the right edge of the road to protect their eyesight.
  • Proper alignment of mirrors – Sun glare may not come from direct sunlight or reflected from another car, but may be reflected from your rearview or side mirrors. A rearview mirror can be flipped to reduce glare. Be careful, however, because this can dim your view and may make it harder to see behind your vehicle during the day.
  • Tinting your windows – Some vehicle windows experience more intense glare than others due to vehicle height or the angle of your vehicle’s windows. Some vehicles may benefit from tinting their windows to dampen glare. Check state laws for how much of your vehicle’s windows can be tinted before taking them into a shop.
  • Changing your route – In a pinch, taking a detour through a shaded area or minimizing how long you will be facing the sun can cut down on the amount of sunlight your eyes will experience.
  • Defrost your windshield – Water and frost build-up can worsen the glare of the sun. Taking a minute to warm up your vehicle on a cold, frosty morning and scraping ice and water from the windshield can drastically cut down sun glare.

Sun glare is a problem every driver faces. Fortunately, there are numerous solutions drivers can take depending on their needs and driving situations. Cutting sun glare won’t just make the road safer; it will protect your eyesight and save you another unnecessary headache.

Drive Safely!

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