No matter what vehicle you drive, safety precautions in extreme or adverse weather always remain the same. You must alter the way you drive to meet the season and the different struggles or hazards that they may bring. We often hear of tips and recommendations to ensure that you stay safe in weather such as rain, ice and heavy wind, but very rarely what to keep an eye out for when driving in the sun.
How To Avoid Hazards When Driving In The Sun
As the warmer months approach, everyone seems to be given a new lease of life when the sun finally decides to make an appearance. Many drivers use Summer weather as an excuse to ditch the car and instead, spend their time relaxing in the sun.
However, for many, the destinations they need to get to on a daily basis aren’t as local as they’d hoped, so driving remains a must, especially if driving is a key aspect of their job role. So, to keep safe and accident-free on the roads, it is essential to take the following tips into consideration before setting off on your next journey.
1. Beware Of Glares
One of the biggest distractions the sun brings is glaring, particularly in the morning when the sun is rising and in the evening when the sun is setting. These are both times of the sun when the sun is low and dramatically reduces visibility, but often cannot be avoided due to rush hour.
If you can afford to switch up your route and there is a realistic alternative that is more likely to block out the sun, it is always recommended to swap to that particular journey instead. Built up housing estates and busy cities are most are likely to have less glare than, for example, driving on an open motorway or country road, because there are many different buildings around you to block out the sun, therefore reducing glare.
Your vehicle is fitted with visors specifically to block glare, so make the most out of them. Rearrange them to fit your positioning to utilise them to most. The only issue about sun visors is that more many drivers, they simply do not come down enough to make enough of the difference. If this is an issue for you, we highly recommend to always have a spare pair of sunglasses in your car. If the sun is still proving a huge issue, you may want to consider investing in tinted windows.
2. Clear Dashboard Clutter
If you spend a huge chunk of your day in your vehicle, for example, if you are a lorry, truck or minibus driver, it can be easy to start to accumulate a heap of rubbish and clutter on your dashboard. You most likely would have been taught in your C1 training or D1 training the importance of maintaining a safe vehicle, and this includes not only the exterior but also the interior.
The biggest culprit for causing issues is anything paper-like or light in colour. As we know from clothing colour recommendations in the sun, light colours reflect the sun, keep this thought in mind when it comes to driving. If you have a bundle of paperwork on your dashboard, then it will do the exact same and reflect the sun, causing a more intense glare.
3. Keep Windows Clean
A dirty car is often unavoidable, you cannot anticipate when there will a large puddle, debris will fall from trees or dust will be dispersed over your car. However, leaving your car to build up dirt not only ruins the appearance of your vehicle but also disrupts visibility. Similarly to the previous point, a dirty windscreen will again create more of a glare and when the sun hits the dirt on the windscreen, it can become very tricky to see.
If you plan to embark on a long journey, take a few minutes out before you set off to check your windscreen is clean. You do not necessarily have to clean the entire car, as long as you wipe off any dirt that could cause a problem, the rest of the car can wait. Through a quality glass cleaner, a soft brush and a little elbow grease, you can complete the job within minutes.
As a basic maintenance task, also always ensure that your vehicle is topped up with wiper fluid and your wiper are in good condition. Look out for wear and tear such as cracking that may be caused by the colder months, any signs of damage, we suggest to replace your wiper blades.
4. Increase Your Stopping Distance
One of the most common causes of small bumps and dents to vehicles is the sun. When the sun is low and glare is at an ultimate high, you often mistake how close the vehicle in front is, especially when stuck in busy traffic. The biggest piece of advice you can be given as a driver is if you are not completely sure how close a vehicle is in front of you and you do not feel as if you could emergency brake in time, increase your stopping distance. You should always increase your stopping distance when visibility is reduced, drop back enough until you can clearly see the vehicle in front and can react in time, you’d rather be safe than sorry!
Not only should you be aware of your own stopping distance, but also the vehicles around you. If the sun is low and glare is intense, remember that all other drivers surrounding you are experiencing the exact same issues. If a vehicle behind you is driving too close, slowly start to drop your speed, so hopefully, they understand that they are driving both too fast and too close. Don’t all of a sudden slam on your brakes as it is more than likely that they will end up hitting your bumper.
So Why Follow These Top Tips?
These top tips are crucial for keeping yourself and drivers around you safe when driving in the sun. The main danger caused by the sun is glaring, so ensure that you have prepared yourself for the event of low visibility. In many cases, you cannot anticipate when you will be faced with driving in low sun, so for extra precautions always keep a spare pair of sunglasses in your glovebox. Remember, the sun doesn’t just cause an issue in the summer, winter can be just as bad, so be prepared all year round!