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Keep the shades handy - here's how to avoid driving accidents from 'winter sun glare'

Painful glaring sunlight is a hazard all to familiar for most drivers.


DRIVING IN FREEZING temperatures boasts its own set of unique hazards.

Between icy roads and freezing fog, the dark days of winter can be a tough time to negotiate for motorists – and this weekend is to be no exception with regard to the recent spate of freezing weather.

One hazard that doesn’t talked about to quite the same extent is sun glare – when a low winter sun reflects off wet roads to dazzling effect.

And it seems that bringing your sunglasses with you is a good start towards combating the effect.

Mayo County Council (MCC), who tend to be a tad more vocal than your average rural administration in promoting road safety, have come up with a series of guidelines for drivers braving the roads at present when it comes to sun glare.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) have said previously that data suggests that sun glare has been a contributory factor to some fatal accidents in the state – so the issue isn’t a new one.

“We can’t change the position of the sun, or the need to travel at certain times, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure you’re prepared for these conditions,” says Noel Gibbons, road safety officer with MCC.

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The guidelines issued by MCC are as follows:

  • Use polarized sunglasses that can help prevent glare.
  • Delay driving times to occur before or after sunrise or sunset.
  • Don’t use high-gloss products on the dashboard, which can contribute to extra glare.
  • Keep the inside and outside of the windshield clean.
  • Make use of sun visors.
  • If glare is a problem, leave extra space between your car and others in the event of sudden stopping or other road hazards.
  • Drive slowly and be mindful of obstructions.
  • Try taking another route that goes in a different direction than the one from which the sun is shining.
  • Leave extra time so that you don’t feel rushed getting to your destination.
  • Eye exams or surgery can make eyes more sensitive to the sunlight. Avoid driving after these appointments.

“Keep your windscreen clean, both inside and out. On de-mist, your heater blows traffic fumes, suspended oil and smoke onto the inside of the screen, and wet roads add dirt and scratches to the outside,” says Gibbons.

If you can’t see, slow down accordingly, keeping an eye on the traffic behind, in case the following vehicle doesn’t see you against the sun.

“Also, beware with these fine evenings – there are more pedestrians and cyclists on the road,” he adds.

Read: This is how self-driving cars are learning to deal with bad conditions

Read: Healy Rae on drink driving, ‘If a person goes out and has a little drink, they’re hurting no one’

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