Local News

Safety Officials: Use extra caution with sun glares

LOCAL NEWS — James (not his real name) drives down Craig Street. He’s late for work but needs to swing by the Duck River Electric Membership Corp. offices to pay his electric bill. As he approaches the intersection of Main Street around 7 a.m., the sun glares through his windshield, temporarily blinding him.

“All I could do was come to a complete stop. It was scary,” he says. “For a few seconds, I was completely blind.”

His instincts were a blessing. He stopped four feet from a pedestrian out for a morning walk.

“I never saw her,” he said. “I don’t even want to think about would have happened had I not stopped.”

According to state safety official, near misses and minor accidents caused by sun glare are common in the fall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that only a few hundred accidents each year are caused by sun glares but AAA believes the number is underreported because sun glare is rarely the sole cause. For comparison, a UK safety study attributed more than 3,000 annual accidents to sun glare.

The biggest risk is that if hitting pedestrians (especially children) and animals. Pedestrians who run or walk at sunrise or sunset should never turn their backs on oncoming traffic. Safety officials also state that drivers should exercise extra caution in school zones and near school buses. Due to the high number of livestock on back roads, especially early in the morning, Moore County drivers should execute extreme caution first thing in the morning and around sharp curves.

There are several things you can do to minimize the risk of temporary blindness from sun glare. Polarized sunglasses help minimize glare. Drivers should also keep both the outside and inside of the windshield clean and avoid storing things like papers on the dash. Drivers should use their headlights around sunrise and sunset to help other drivers see you.

Safety officials say there is no law that excuses a driver from liability in a accident due to sun glare.

“It’s the same as using caution when there’s rain or snow in the roads,” they said. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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