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Temporary blindness! Essential tips to survive driving in sun and headlight glare

Sun and headlight glare account for numerous accidents across the nation every year but there are a few things you can do to minimize this dangerous distraction.


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Glare: it’s happened to every driver. From turning a corner and being blinded by the sun to driving at night and attempting to squint through the light beams from oncoming traffic – glare is dangerous.

Glare is defined as a bright light that interferes with your vision.  The light not only makes it difficult to see, but it is also uncomfortable, forcing the driver to squint or even become teary eyed.  The driver’s inability to properly see makes glare incredibly dangerous.

In 2008, a U.S. government report estimated that 16.4% of all “atmospheric condition” crashes were caused by sun glare. In 2013, the UK reported that sun glare contributed to 3,000 accidents and 36 deaths.  With improving technology and stronger and brighter lights, the problem is becoming more and more prevalent. Fog lamps and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights use a high voltage electrical arc to ionize xenon gas and make it glow.  This glow make can make it difficult for other drivers on the road to see.

Headlamp glare can lead to “disability glare,” which reduces the contrast among roadway objects. The glare reduces a drivers’ ability to see distance and drivers’ recation times suffer.  Even after the glare subsides, it can take a driver some time to fully recover. Older drivers are more susceptible to glare hazards.  Being aware of the dangers and risks can help you stay safe while driving. 

Here are some tips from AAA to help keep you safe while dealing with sun glare:

  • Account for time of day
    Sun glare tends to be the worst in the early morning and late afternoon. Drivers should be mindful of the potential for glare.
  • Use polarized sunglasses
    Polarized glasses have been popular for years among boaters and fishermen who need to reduce the glare from the water. They offer less eye strain and strong protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use the sun visor
    It sounds basic, but you can block out the harshest rays of the sun by using your car’s sun visor. Be aware that a visor can also reduce overall vision.
  • Slow down and leave more room
    Your visibility and reaction time will decrease due to glare, so it’s important to give yourself a greater gap to react.
  • Use your headlights
    This makes you more visible to other drivers.
  • Clean your windshield
    Spots and debris on your windshields can make it even more difficult to see in sun glare situations. 
  • Follow the marked lanes
    Pay attention to lane roadway markings to ensure that you’re in the correct lane.

These tips from AAA will help you deal with headlight glare:

  • Clean your headlights
    According to AAA, a thin layer of grime on your headlights can block 90% of the light.  Just by making sure that your headlights are clean, you can significantly improve your visibility at night.
  • Wash your windows and wiper blades
    Spots and dirt can hamper your ability to see, especially when dealing with headlamp glare.
  • Adjust your mirrors
    Sometimes headlamp glare can come from behind your car. Be prepared to adjust your left and rear side mirrors to reduce or eliminate the glare from behind you. Using the rear-view mirror’s night setting can make a big difference. Some upscale cars now offer self-dimming mirrors.
  • Get anti-reflective (AR) eyeglass coating
    If you wear glasses, headlamp glare can be magnified. An AR coating can improve vision.
    Despite the Corey Hart song, wearing sunglasses at night can make driving even more dangerous than temporary headlamp glare.
  • Flash your high beams
    If you suspect the driver in another car has their high beams activated, flick your high beams on and then off a few times. This is typically recognized as a request to the other driver to lower his high beams. However, many headlamps are just extremely bright and can appear to be on a high setting when they’re not.

Sun glare can be dangerous to everyone on the road.  Take precaution and do what you can to keep you and your family safe.  In the event that an accident does occur, having the right auto insurance policy can make a difference. 

Call InsuraMatch at 855-244-7671 to speak with an agent.  They can help answer any questions or concerns about insurance.

Being safe behind the wheel is the most important thing you can do!

Categories: Auto