As fall progresses into winter, the days are getting shorter and shorter. This means that there is a great chance that on your way home from work, you will be met with looking straight into the setting sun. This can be uncomfortable at the least, and blinding at the most.

A published on NCBI shows that there is an increase in risk of crashing when bright sunlight is present. What are the biggest hazards of driving in the bright sun and what can you do to help yourself stay safe when the sun becomes too much?

Dangers of driving in bright sunlight

There are two main dangers that it is important to be aware of when driving at times where the sun is low in the sky and shining bright. They include:

  • Sun compromises view of the road: The glare of the sun reflecting off other cars or onto your windshield can make it difficult for you to see the road, as well as other cars or objects (such as medians) that may be in your path.
  • Hard to keep your eyes open: Sun that is low in the sky is prone to shining right at eye level late in the afternoon/ early in the evening. Because the sun is so bright, a natural instinct is to close your eyes. You may have trouble keeping your eyes open, which can be extremely dangerous when you are on a busy road.

Tips for driving in bright sunlight

While blocking out all of the sun is not always possible, there are some things that you can do to avoid a sun-related crash, including:

  • Wear sunglasses: Wearing dark sunglasses can help immensely. Your eyes will be protected from UV rays, and you will be able to see what is in front of you better.
  • Block the light with your visor: Using your visor to block out the brightest part of the sun can take some stress away from your eyes.
  • Give yourself, and other vehicles, space: If you are still having trouble seeing, give yourself cushion space between the cars around you and yourself.
  • Pull over: It may be worth it to pull over for 15-20 minutes and let the brightness die down.

Driving in bright sunlight is something that everyone does at some point in their life, but that does not mean it has to be dangerous. Knowing the hazards and following the tips listed above can help you avoid a crash.