British drivers have been urged to follow expert guidance for driving in dazzling sunshine, which causes 25 fatal UK road accidents annually.
Driving specialists from LeaseCar.uk have released six top tips to help motorists stay safe when travelling in bright or low sun that could dangerously affect their vision, which includes maintaining a lower speed and allowing a greater following distance.
The advice comes after their researchers highlighted recent Department for Transport statistics, which show 2,186 vehicle collisions a year are caused by dazzling sun, of which 577 are serious and 25 fatal.
Most drivers will be aware of the dangers that could be posed by rain, sleet, snow or fog, but the government data proves that driving in dazzling sunshine also carries risks.
Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “On a bright spring or summer day, it’s important for drivers to carefully consider potential hazards on the road – the conditions can in fact be treacherous.
“Official government stats show that bright sun causes over 2,000 vehicle collisions a year, so we’re warning drivers to stay safe and have released crucial advice to help them.
“From cleanliness and visual aids to changing your driving habits, taking precautionary measures could save drivers from avoidable injury or inconvenience.”
Here are the six LeaseCar.uk tips for driving safely in bright sunshine:
1. Use the visors
Sun visors are there to block dazzling sunlight and provide safer driving conditions, so remember to make full use of yours when necessary – including on the passenger side of your car.
On most vehicles, they can also unclip and spin 90 degrees to shield side windows, in case the sunlight is coming from a different direction.
2. Slow down
If the sun, or any other weather conditions, are affecting your vision behind the wheel and ability to travel safely, it’s vital to drive slower.
This allows you a greater reaction time should a problem arise and offers an opportunity to consider if, when and where it’s worth pulling over, to wait for conditions to improve.
3. Back off
If glare from sunshine is reducing visibility on the road, it’s wise to leave an increased following distance to the vehicle in front of you.
Struggling to see other drivers’ actions could be extremely hazardous, but allowing additional time and space to interpret the road ahead should reduce the risk of danger.
4. Clean inside and out
Before setting off on a journey on a bright summer’s day, make sure your windscreen and mirrors are completely clean and free from smears or dirt that could be made highly visible and obstructive with direct sunlight shining on them. Keep screen wash topped up too.
Removing clutter from the dashboard could also aid drivers’ vision and safety when travelling in potentially dazzling sun, as materials such as paper, glass and food packaging can reflect sunlight and cause problems. Give surfaces a wipe as well.
5. Fix cracks
Any cracks, scratches or pits on your windscreen or even your bonnet could cause sunlight to scatter and distort your view of the road.
Before driving in summery conditions, ensure your vehicle is in top shape and invest in a professional once over if you have any doubts.
6. Get glasses
A pair of polarised glasses could help reduce the sun’s glare and improve your safety on the roads this summer without the darkening effect of traditional sunglasses.
Polarised lenses contain a filter that blocks out intense reflected light, making them an ideal aid to driving in potentially dazzling weather conditions and worth keeping in your vehicle at all times.