What is the Impact of Sunlight on Driving?
Sunlight can have a significant impact on driving, affecting visibility, road surface and driving conditions, and the interior of the car and the driver’s comfort.
Sunlight can cause glare, which can reduce visibility and make it difficult to see the road ahead. Glare can be caused by direct sunlight, or by reflections from wet roads, snow, or other reflective surfaces. To reduce glare, drivers should wear sunglasses and use sun visors. These measures can help to block out the intense light and improve visibility on the road. It is especially important to take precautions during the winter months when the sun hangs lower in the sky, as this can create a blinding effect, particularly after rain or when there is ice or snow on the ground. Drivers should also reduce speed and exercise extra caution when emerging from junctions, as bright sunlight can make it harder to spot cyclists near the kerb.
Road Surface and Driving Conditions
Sunlight can also affect the road surface and driving conditions. In bright sunlight, the wet surface can reflect its blinding rays from the road directly into the driver’s eyes. This can make it difficult to see, and drivers should keep all windows clean and clear to ensure visibility. Additionally, when windows get misted up, drivers should not use their hands to wipe them, as the natural oils in the skin can coat the glass and create a frosted effect. In hot weather, the road surface can become soft and more prone to damage. This can make it difficult to control the vehicle, as the tyres may not grip the road as well. Additionally, the road surface can become slippery due to oil and other substances that have been spilled on the road. Drivers should be aware of these conditions and adjust their driving accordingly. It is important to drive at a safe speed and maintain a greater distance from other vehicles to allow for better control and response to changing road conditions.
Interior of the Car and Driver’s Comfort
Sunlight can cause the interior of the car to become hot and uncomfortable. This can make driving conditions unpleasant and may lead to driver fatigue. To reduce the temperature inside the car, drivers should use sun shades and keep the windows closed if you have airconditioning. Sun shades can help to block out the direct sunlight and prevent the car from heating up. Additionally, drivers should ensure that the air conditioning is working properly and that the car is well ventilated. This can help to maintain a comfortable temperature and improve driver comfort. It is also important for drivers to take regular breaks to ensure they remain alert and comfortable throughout their journey. By managing the interior temperature and ensuring driver comfort, the impact of sunlight on driving can be minimised.
What are the Risks and Dangers of Driving in the Sun?
The potential hazards and risks associated with driving in bright sunlight include reduced visibility due to glare from the sun, sunblindness, and difficulty seeing signs and reading number plates. Glare from the sun can reduce visibility and make it difficult to see the road ahead. This can be particularly dangerous when the sun reflects off a wet road surface, creating strong, bright glare. To reduce the risk of glare, it is important to keep your windscreen clean and free of grease, and to replace your wiper blades regularly.
Sun blindness is a condition that can occur when a driver is exposed to bright sunlight for an extended period of time. Sun blindness can cause a driver to become temporarily blinded, making it difficult to see the road ahead. Sun blindness can also cause a driver to become disoriented and confused, increasing the risk of accidents. To reduce the risk of sun blindness, it is important to wear sunglasses and keep the sun visor down. Additionally, it is important to take breaks and rest your eyes if you have been driving in bright sunlight for a long time.
In summary, driving in the sun can be hazardous due to the potential hazards and risks associated with glare and sun blindness. Glare from the sun can reduce visibility and make it difficult to see the road ahead, especially when reflecting off of wet surfaces. Sun blindness can cause temporary blindness and disorientation, increasing the risk of accidents. To mitigate these risks, it is important to keep your windscreen clean, wear sunglasses, and be aware of other road users.
How to Drive Safely in Bright Sunlight?
To drive safely in bright sunlight, it is important to follow certain best practices and adjust your driving techniques and habits to cope with the challenges posed by the sun. Here are some recommendations to minimise risks and ensure safe driving in bright sunlight:
Best practices for Driving in Bright Sunlight
- Keep your windshield clean and clear: It is essential to have a clean windshield to reduce glare and improve visibility. Avoid using your hand to wipe the windows, as the natural oils in your skin can coat the glass and make it difficult to see.
- Wear sunglasses: Invest in a good pair of sunglasses with lenses that darken in sunlight. This will help filter out the ultraviolet rays and reduce glare, improving your visibility on the road. Additionally, windscreen visors can be used to shield your eyes from the sun, and they can be unclipped at one side to offer protection through the side window.
- Exercise extra caution at junctions: When emerging from junctions, take a few moments to ensure you don’t miss anything. Cyclists near the kerb can be harder to spot in bright sunlight, so be particularly vigilant and watch out for them.
- Adjust your driving techniques: When driving in bright sunlight, it is important to adapt your driving techniques to cope with the challenges posed by the sun. Here are some tips to help you do this:
- Slow down and increase your following distance: This will give you more time to react to any unexpected situations that may arise due to reduced visibility caused by the sun.
- Be aware of other drivers and their blind spots: Bright sunlight can create additional blind spots for drivers, so be cautious and considerate of other road users.
- Avoid looking directly into the sun: Directly looking into the sun can cause temporary blindness, so try to avoid doing so while driving.
Tinted windows can also be used to reduce glare and improve visibility while driving in the sun. Tinted windows are windows that have been treated with a special film or coating to reduce the amount of light that enters the vehicle. This can help to block out the sun’s rays and reduce glare. Tinted windows can also help to reduce eye strain and fatigue caused by the sun’s bright rays. However, it is important to note that the level of tint allowed on vehicle windows may be regulated by local laws, so it is important to cheque the legal requirements before tinting your windows.
In summary, to reduce glare and improve visibility while driving in the sun, it is recommended to use sun visors, sunglasses (preferably polarised), and tinted windows. These tools can help to block out the sun’s rays, reduce glare, and enhance visibility on the road.
How to Protect Yourself from the Sun’s Harmful Effects While Driving?
Potential Health Risks of Prolonged Sun Exposure While Driving
Prolonged sun exposure while driving can have several negative health effects. The most common risks include:
- Skin damage: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn, premature ageing, and an increased risk of skin cancer.
- Eye damage: Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause damage to the eyes, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and other vision problems.
- Heat exhaustion: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s heat can cause dehydration, fatigue, and heat exhaustion.
How to Protect Your Skin and Eyes from the Harmful Effects of UV Rays While Driving
To protect your skin and eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays while driving, it is important to take the following precautions:
- Wear sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before driving. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you are sweating or swimming. Sunscreen helps to block the UV rays and prevent sunburn and skin damage.
- Wear sunglasses: Wear sunglasses with UV protection to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays. Look for sunglasses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. This will help reduce the risk of eye damage, including cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Wear a hat: Wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide additional protection for your face, neck, and ears. This will help shield your skin from direct sunlight and reduce the risk of sunburn and skin damage.
- Use window shades: instal window shades or use sun visors to block the sun’s rays from entering your car. This will help reduce the amount of UV radiation that reaches your skin and eyes.
- Avoid peak sun hours: If possible, try to avoid driving during the peak sun hours, which are typically between 10 am and 4 pm. During these hours, the sun’s rays are the strongest, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin damage.
What Does the UK Highway Code Say About Driving in the Sun?
The UK Highway Code provides specific rules and guidelines for driving in sunny conditions. These rules are designed to ensure the safety of all road users and to avoid penalties.
Legal Requirements and Obligations
Drivers must take extra care when driving in sunny conditions, as the sun can cause glare and reduce visibility. Drivers must adjust their speed and driving style to suit the conditions, and must be aware of the potential risks.
Drivers must also ensure that their windscreen and windows are clean and free from dirt, dust, and other obstructions. This will help to reduce glare and improve visibility.
Rules and Guidelines
The UK Highway Code provides the following rules and guidelines for driving in sunny conditions:
- Reduce Speed and Drive Cautiously: Drivers should reduce their speed and drive more cautiously in sunny conditions. This is important to account for reduced visibility and potential glare from the sun.
- Wear Sunglasses: Drivers should wear sunglasses to reduce glare and improve visibility. Sunglasses can help to protect the eyes from the sun’s rays and reduce the risk of sun-blindness.
- Keep Windscreen and Windows Clean: Drivers should keep their windscreen and windows clean and free from dirt, dust, and other obstructions. This will help to reduce glare and improve visibility. Regular cleaning of the windscreen and windows is recommended, especially in sunny conditions.
- Use Sun Visor: Drivers should use their sun visor to reduce glare from the sun. The sun visor can be adjusted to block out direct sunlight and reduce the risk of sun-glare.
- Be Aware of Risks: Drivers should be aware of the potential risks of driving in sunny conditions, such as reduced visibility and glare. They should be prepared for sudden changes in visibility and be cautious of other road users who may be affected by the sun.
Contact Us for Expert Advice and Driving Lessons in Sunlight Conditions
Contact us for personalised driving lessons and guidance on driving in the sun.
If you are looking to improve your driving skills and confidence in sunny conditions, contact Smart Drive UK today. We offer personalised driving lessons tailored to your individual needs. Our instructors will assess your current driving skills and provide you with the necessary guidance and advice to help you improve your abilities in sunny conditions. They will teach you how to adjust your speed, visibility, and driving style to suit the conditions, as well as how to use your mirrors and other safety features effectively. With our personalised lessons, you will gain the skills and knowledge needed to drive safely and confidently in sunny weather.