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Phoenix Car Accidents Caused by the Glare of the Arizona Sun

Car accident from sun glare

Bright sunny days are dangerous for drivers, although most drivers have a false sense of security due to beautifully clear weather conditions. Around roadways everyone is at risk for sun-influenced car accidents. This includes drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. This is due to sun blindness, also known as sun glare, and is a big danger for anyone getting behind the wheel. Many lawsuits have been filed in courts across the US because sun glare blocked view of traffic control devices such as signal lights, oncoming cars or pedestrians.

Other terms used to describe sun glare include disability glare, veiling glare and sun dazzle. Regardless of what you call it, sun glare results in driver view being washed out on the retina with blinding bright spots or patterns. When sun glare affects a driver, very quickly a gorgeous spring or fall day can become a deadly nightmare.

There have been several studies on the true affect that a sudden glare of light can have on a driver’s ability to stay focused. According to the ‘Statistical Assessment of the Glare Issue” from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, glare from headlights and sunlight is a significant contributing factor in car accidents.

Sun Glare Car Accident Risk in Spring and Fall

Attorney David Michael explains how sun glare spikes in spring and fall due to astronomical events occurring during these seasons.

“In Phoenix, spring and fall sun glares occur because of the sun’s position of rising directly in the east and setting in the west, coinciding with rush hour commuting times and even the grid pattern on which roadways are constructed in the city,”  explains. “The roads here can become a dangerous place at sunrise and sunset, in particular.” He continued, “With the roadways running east to west and north to south, they are perfectly positioned for maximum exposure to sun glare.”

One study from the U.K. attributed 3,000 auto accidents each year to sun glare in even that typically overcast weather-laden region of the world. These numbers are much higher in America, where we have many more drivers on the road and a sunnier climate. Age can contribute to effect of sun glare on drivers. Older drivers tend to suffer greater consequences from sun glare, having more accidents due to spotty vision during these times of year. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed 38.5 percent of sun glare auto accidents to drivers over the age of 45.

Sun Glare Car Accident Prevention

Phoenix auto accident attorney David Michael explains that there are ways to prevent sun glare problems while driving, or at least lessen the effect of sun glare on the field of vision through the windshield of a moving car. “Although sun glare can be hard to avoid on sunny days in Phoenix, there are preventive measures drivers can take to decrease the potential for an auto accident,” said. “Sun glare is never an excuse for a crash and drivers can be held responsible for injuries suffered in a sun glare car accident.”

 Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law suggest the following tips during sun glare seasons:

  • Wear polarized sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses are year-round safety measures providing the best first line of defense against sun glare, for all seasons.
  • Regularly clean your windshield. Windshield smudges and grime buildup inside or outside of your windshield refracts and scatters sun rays, intensifying glare. Clean glass refracts less sunlight, even when your car directly faces the sun.
  • Add additional visors to your factory-installed sun visors. Factory sun visors provide some protection. But adding adjustable mini-visors as extensions on these pre-installed versions extend sun blocking, with some see-through colored versions filtering light very well.
  • Declutter your dash. Sunlight bounces off of objects, particularly plastics, metals and glass. Anything shiny will reflect the light. Paper is even reflective and adds to vision problems.
  • Replace a damaged windshield. Cracks, chips, pits and other glass issues scatter and refract light, making it worse on the eyes than when it passes through a well-maintained, crack-free windshield.
  • Keep enough space between you and vehicles in front of you. During sunny periods, do not gain false security because the weather is nice out. Allow ample space for vision obstructions, just as you would for trying to stop during rainstorms.
  • Drive slower when the sun is in your eyes. Go slower when you are struggling to see.
  • Avoid high sun glare times of day for driving. Although sun glare can be unavoidable during some periods of the year, the sun’s position in the sky does change with each passing day. When the sun is at a sun glare producing angle, wait 30 minutes longer before leaving the office or leave 30 minutes earlier in the day. Remember that it is not just about avoiding sun glare effect on your driving, but also defensively driving around everyone else suffering the same vision issues.

If you have suffered a sun glare car accident with property damage or injuries, call Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law now at (602) 254-2701 to discuss options for gaining the compensation you deserve.


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