IAM warns of low sun dazzle danger

10.23 | 27 October 2010 | | 5 comments

The IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) has issued a warning about the possible dangers motorists face from the glare of the low sun.

Following the clock change this coming weekend, more drivers will have to contend with the dazzle of the low sun in the morning and evening.

The IAM points to government figures showing that glare from the sun was the cause of 2,684 injury crashes in 2009 – as many as headlight dazzle and bad weather combined.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “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.

“Keep your windscreen clean, both inside and out. On demist, 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.

“Dirty windscreens add to the danger when the sun is low. 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.”

For more information contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777.


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    The reason I have mentioned bright sunlight in September is simply that the further north one is, and I am in Lancashire, the lower the sun is, sooner than down in say London.
    I have taken to wearing a baseball cap [always in the glove compartment of the car] when out in bright low sun and then when I put it on it dramatically reduces the degree of sun in my eyes and makes visibility better.

    When out on my bike I have put a piece of black electricians take on the bottom lip of my visor and at the top also. It in no way reduces my normal vision but when lifted it can obscure the direct sunlight hitting my eyes by its use. I do however always wear eye protection whilst riding with visor open.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
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    For David in Suffolk. You are absolutely right. The oldest Roadcraft I still have was issued to me in 1968 (3/6 to the public). On page 31, under the paragraph, “Weather Conditions”, comes the sentence, “Weather conditions such as fog, mist, heavy rain or snow, the fading light at dusk and the dazzling brilliance of the setting sun, reduce visibility considerably.” My hand-written note in the margin is “must know for exam.” A long time ago.

    Roy Buchanan, Sutton
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    The sun has been low all day for some time now. I have mentioned this danger on several motorcycle websites since September. On my way to work today 1.11.2010 the sun was directly in my eyes at a road junction, the situation was improved by turning down the window which increased visibility somewhat but there were many drivers out there taking a chance hoping that there were no oncoming vehicles, half in and half out at junctions,no doubt the majority were in a rush taking their kids to school.
    Must remember its not only morning and afternoon, its a problem all day long and it doesn’t matter if you have your lights on or as big as a double decker bus a driver looking straight into the sun WILL NOT SEE YOU!!!!!!

    Whilst driving into the sun during the day one problem is the reflection of the plastics used for the top of the instrument panels [dashboard], the sun is reflected back up onto the windscreen. So take a dark, preferably black piece of cloth, none reflective cotton is best and just lay it over the plastics of the dash, making sure you still have air vents and it will make visibility better.
    Try it and come back, tell us how you find it.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
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    Didn’t old Roadcrafts contain the wonderful phrase ‘the dazzling brilliance of the setting sun’?

    David, Suffolk
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    May I add that whenever you find the sun strong in your rear view mirror it is time to switch on dipped beam. Oncoming traffic will be blinded by the sun that is behind you. Your presence and your vehicle will be a dark shadow at best – illuminate that shadow with dipped beam, and oncoming traffic may have a better chance at seeing you, and a prospective accident may be avoided.

    Autumn leaves when wet and left in between wheel tracks are a potentially lethal hazard for two wheelers. Bear this in mind when negotiating roads so littered.

    Derek, St Albans.
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