Figures taken from The Department for Transport’s Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report reveal that the dazzling sun accounted for 2,905 accidents in 2012, compared to 2,592 in 2011. The report highlights that 41 per cent of all sun-dazzle accidents last year were on A-roads, compared to 1.7 per cent on motorways.
October is the worst month for dazzle as the sun sets earlier in the day, around rush hour time. Damp road surfaces also exacerbate the conditions.
Top 10 Tips to maintain good visibility
- Keep windscreen washer reservoir topped up, so fluid is always available when needed (note, this is also a legal requirement)
- Use a screen wash with excellent freeze protection, otherwise it may freeze in colder temperatures, and can cause damage as it freezes and expands in pipes
- Ensure front and rear windscreens and side windows are clean both inside and out
- Fix – or replace – damaged windscreens as soon as possible: scratches, abrasions and chips compound sun dazzle and can impede vision and lead to an MOT failure
- Replace cracked, torn, split or worn wiper blades, as streaks can impair visibility
- Clean and adjust washer jets using a pin or needle & wash the pipes through with screen wash
- Switch wipers off when leaving the car: if left on, wipers frozen to the screen will try to free themselves to resume their natural start position when the ignition is engaged, possibly damaging the blade and the wiper motor
- Keep a pair of sunglasses with polarised lenses in the car to reduce the impact of sun dazzle
- Regularly check all exterior light bulbs and replace if necessary as soon as possible
- Use headlights during inclement weather and at least 30 minutes before sunset and for at least 30 minutes after sun rise