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Dazzle danger: Don’t let the sun’s glare get you into trouble on the road

By Paul Connolly

With the sunny and dry weather predicted to last at least another week, experts are pointing out that the good weather can actually make driving hazardous.

Statistics show that vision-related issues are the contributory cause of around 10% of all UK road accidents.

And of these accidents, sun dazzle is the largest weather-related cause, responsible for around 2,500 accidents a year.

Being dazzled by the sun is therefore a major distraction and is more often a factor in summer collisions than most people realise.

Even though we have many tools that aid in protecting us from the glare, we often forget to use them, says Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at charity IAM RoadSmart.

“It’s easy to get distracted when the sun is out and the world seems a better place,” he adds.

“By keeping the screen clean and your view shaded where possible, you will give yourself the best chance of staying safe.

“If you are wearing sunglasses, bear in mind that the protection they offer will be magnified by any tinted windows and remember to keep them clean – it’s amazing how distorting a sun cream fog can be. Be ready to take them off in tunnels or shaded areas but keep them close to hand.”

Here are Richard’s tips for safe driving in the sun:

  1. If you are dazzled by the sun, slow down and leave extra space between yourself and the driver ahead. This will give you more time to regain full control and assess the situation
  2. Remember that when the sun is low behind you, you might be able to see just fine, but oncoming drivers might not see you
  3. Use your sun visor. It may sound pretty obvious but a surprising number of people forget
  4. Invest in polarised sunglasses and remember to take a rest. Your eyes will strain quickly if you are squinting
  5. Keep your windscreen clean both inside and out; a dirty screen will magnify the glare
  6. On the outside check for chips or cracks, replace worn wiper blades and make sure your washer bottle is kept well topped up with good quality screen wash to help remove those summer bugs
  7. Keep a cloth or chamois to wipe away the dirt that builds up on the inside.

Sales of convertibles and other drop-tops soar in good weather due to the feel good factor.

SunMotoring.jpg
The Best Convertible was named as the Mini Cooper Convertible

In this week’s Auto Express’s Best New Car Awards 2018, the Best Convertible was named as the Mini Cooper Convertible, with both the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet (all pictured) both picking up commendations.

Sales of these cars and other drop tops will likely rise, leading to warnings to convertible drivers to think seriously about the effects of the sun when driving.

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Audi A3 Cabriolet

As well as the tips above, extra tips for convertible drivers include:

  1. Be weather aware – you don’t want to cause an accident because you need to quickly raise the roof in an unexpected shower
  2. Good sunglasses are an absolute must for open top driving – as well as their polarising effects, they help keep insects and grit from the eyes
  3. Regularly apply sun cream. The breeze in an open top can make you think it’s not as hot as it really is, leaving you exposed to sunburn or even sunstroke, which would be calamitous when driving.
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Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

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