Driving is convenient, but it can also be dangerous, both physically and financially. Your car insurance should cover you for plenty of things, as long as you abide by the law. Break the law, and you’re generally on your own: ignorance is no excuse. To save you a potential crash (at worst) or a £1,000 fine and three points on your licence (at best), here’s how to stay safe while driving in bright sunlight.
Why is driving in bright sunlight dangerous?
Sunny days offer a great chance to head out and visit the UK’s outdoor tourist spots. However, Andy Alderson, CEO and Founder of Vanarama, warns: “If drivers are not prepared for driving in bright sunlight, they could put themselves and other road users in danger.”
Bright sunlight can cause a strong glare across your car’s windscreen, which can distort your view of the road.
What was that about a £1,000 fine?
Under UK law, failure to have proper control of your vehicle or a full view of the road and traffic ahead could leave you with a £1,000 fine and three points on your licence. Being dazzled by bright sunshine is no excuse but, with proper precautions, you can stay safe even on sunny days.
5 tips for driving in bright sunlight
Alderson explains the basics of staying safe: “To prevent being dazzled by the sun when driving, motorists should check their windscreen is clean before setting off, wear polarised sunglasses and keep a safe distance from other drivers when the sun is distorting their view.”
But that’s not all you can do. Here are five additional tips.
1. Keep your windscreen wash topped-up
It’s all very well to leave home with a clean windscreen, but it won’t stay that way for long. If your windscreen wash is full, you can clean off any mess en route.
2. Use your sun visor
This might seem obvious, but your sun visor isn’t only there to use as a mirror. It will also help to reduce the glare or help your eyes adjust when driving in the shade after driving in bright sunlight. Most visors will pivot to block the sun from the side as well as the front, so experiment to see what yours can do.
3. Wear polarised sunglasses
Alderson already mentioned this, but it’s worth explaining. Normal sunglasses block out a lot of light, but polarised sunglasses only block out the horizontally polarised light. This means that you can see more clearly than through normal sunglasses, but without the glare. Seeing clearly on the road makes driving so much safer!
4. Take a break
Everything is harder when you’re hungry, thirsty and tired. When you plan a long drive in the sun, make sure you plan regular stops as well. Get out, stretch your legs, have a drink and give your eyes a break from the bright sunlight. It’ll help you focus on the road when you get back to driving.
5. Get your car windows tinted
Getting your windows tinted costs about £350. As well as helping when you’re driving in bright sunlight, tinted windows also combat the glare from low sun in winter, and help to keep your car cooler in hot weather.
Bright sunlight means many things to many people – a summer holiday, sunbathing or camping are just a few. Make sure that, for you, a sunny day doesn’t mean a big fine or a car crash. And regardless of whether or not it’s sunny, don’t forget your car insurance. It will never cover everything, but it certainly helps.