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The Hidden Dangers of Sun Glare Accidents

avoiding sun glare accident

Sharon had just started a walking regimen and was proud of her 50-pound weight loss. It propelled her to get up every morning and hit the streets again. But tragically, one morning, she was hit by a car near her home. The driver was facing the glaring morning sun and didn’t even see her.

Sun Glare Accidents

Car accidents caused by sun glare are probably more common than we think because police reports often do not consider the visual conditions on the roadway just before a collision.

Whether the driver didn’t see a bicyclist, a child, a pedestrian, a motorcycle, or another vehicle due to sun glare, that may not matter in terms of litigation. A driver is expected to be aware of his surroundings at all times, not just when the sun is not in his eyes. Sun glare is rarely an excuse for an accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), collisions where sun glare was a factor number a few hundred accidents in the U.S. every year.

However, AAA feels this figure underrepresents the actual number of sun glare-caused accidents, and AAA believes that number is in the thousands annually.

Sun glare is considered an environmental cause of crashes, accounting for about 17 percent of 52,000 car crashes or 9,000 accidents that NHTSA studied. That’s more than caused by icy roads.

A study published in 2017 found that when looking over 20 years, bright sunlight alters perception and may cause drivers to travel at a faster speed. The risk of a life-threatening crash was 16% higher during bright sunlight compared to typical weather.

Remember that in the late fall and winter months, the glare from sunrise and sunset is more closely aligned to peak driving times.

Preventing Sun Glare Accidents

Knowing that sun glare can cause an accident, there are some steps you can take to minimize the chances of this happening.  

  • Keep your windshield clean – A dirty windshield scatters the light, making it even more challenging to see. Keep your wiper fluid filled before you hit the road and bring paper towels to clean the glass if needed.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses – To minimize glare.
  • Slow down – Poor visibility means you need to slow way down in case you encounter something suddenly.
  • Allow for the extra distance between cars – Increase the distance from the vehicle in front of you when visibility is limited. You want to be able to see their taillights if they brake abruptly.
  • Keep your lights on – This allows the car behind you to see if you suddenly brake.
  • Change your route – Avoid facing directly into the sun by changing the roads you take when the sun is low in the sky.

If You are In a Sun Glare Accident

If you are involved in an accident that may have been caused by bright sunlight, pull over. Summon medical help if there are injuries. Call 911 to get the police to make a report if there is any amount of damage or injuries.

Do not exchange any conversation with the other person. Just gather their pertinent information – name, address, license number, make and model of car VIN number, take pictures, get any witnesses, and be sure to get their insurance information.

Liability in a Sun Glare Accident

If you were hit by a car that had limited visibility because of the sun, or if you caused the accident because the sun was in your eyes, neither scenario excuses the driver from liability.

Every driver must exercise due care when behind the wheel, no matter the weather. This means when visibility is limited, you must slow down and leave more distance between you and the car ahead.

If you or a family member were injured in a car crash caused by someone else where sun glare may have been to blame, do not just accept that excuse. J. Allan Brown will evaluate your case and discuss your legal options during a complimentary consultation.

You may be eligible for compensation for your property losses and serious injuries, even the death of a loved one. Mr. Brown offers compassionate and skilled advice concerning your options when you call his office at 251-220-3100.

Sources:

NIH
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5228668/

NHTSA
https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/glare_congressional_report.pdf

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/flannagan.pdf

J. Allan Brown, LLC
Law Office of J. Allan Brown, LLC, is located in Mobile, AL and serves clients in and around Mobile, Bucks, Satsuma, Eight Mile, Semmes, Spanish Fort, Citronelle, Theodore, Saraland, Montrose, Irvington, Saint Elmo, Wilmer, Point Clear, Grand Bay, Chunchula, Fairhope, Creola, Bayou La Batre, Axis, Coden, Bay Minette, Silverhill, Baldwin County and Mobile County.
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