During the fall and winter, the days get shorter, and sun glare can become a much bigger problem when we drive. During the late spring and summer months, the sun is usually up before we leave for work, and it goes down later in the evening after we have already returned home.
During this time of year, bright sunlight can disrupt our peak drive times when we commute to and from work. In Alabama, this problem is most prevalent during the months of November through February. Sun glare can have a blinding effect at times, making it far more difficult to handle what would otherwise be routine traffic situations.
Who is At Fault for a Sun Glare Accident?
As mentioned previously, bright sunlight can severely disrupt our driving, making it more challenging to handle various situations, such as:
- Noticing when cars in front of you slow down and apply their brakes;
- Seeing pedestrians and bicyclists that cross the street in front of you;
- Noticing vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and other objects that enter your blind spot;
- Seeing the lines and other markings on the road that help you stay in your lane, merge into traffic, and exit from traffic.
In all of these scenarios, the situation becomes far more hazardous when sun glare enters the picture. But when the bright sunlight shining through your windshield causes an accident with injuries, who is to blame?
Some people may want to argue that sun glare is an “act of God”, and that they are not responsible for a crash when it is caused by the sun. Unfortunately for them, this is not a valid legal argument.
An “act of God” is an extraordinary natural event that could not have been avoided. Examples of events that may fit into this category include hurricanes, flooding, mudslides, and earthquakes. These are not “everyday” occurrences, and if one of these types of events causes a vehicle accident, the “act of God” defense might have some validity.
Sunlight, on the other hand, is an “everyday” occurrence. The sun rises every morning and sets every evening, and it is not extremely difficult to predict when these events will happen.
We know that during this season, there is a pretty good chance we will run into bright sunlight if we drive east during the morning and west during the late afternoon. As such, it is our responsibility as drivers to exercise reasonable care to prepare for this, just as with any other foreseeable event.
Tips to Help Prevent Sun Glare Accidents
Here are some steps you can take to prepare for bright sunlight and help reduce the chances that it will result in an accident:
- Wear Polarized Sunglasses: You should have a good pair of sunglasses to protect you from bright sunlight, and polarized sunglasses are best for this purpose. Although they will not give you perfect vision when the bright sun shines through your windshield, they will at least significantly reduce the glare and allow you to see much better.
- Clean Your Windshield: Marks and streaks on your windshield can make driving in bright sunlight much worse. Clean your windshield thoroughly before you drive, and make sure you have plenty of washer fluid in case it gets dirty again on the road. Also, replace your wiper blades if they are contributing to the marks and streaks.
- Consider Using Extra Sun Visors: Turn your sun visors to the sides as necessary to block out the sun glare. You may also want to look into purchasing sun visor extenders that provide additional protection from bright sunlight as you drive.
- Drive Slowly and Allow Plenty of Space: When sun glare makes it difficult to see what is in front of you, slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to deal with any adverse road conditions that may arise.
- Avoid Distracted Driving: You should always do everything possible to avoid distractions while you drive, such as messages and your cell phone, GPS, food and drink, etc. This is especially true when you encounter bright sunlight.
- Adjust Your Drive Time and Route: Sometimes, a small adjustment in the time you leave for work in the morning or come home in the afternoon can make a big difference in how much you have to deal with sun glare. You might also be able to change the route you drive so you are doing more north/south driving and less east/west driving.
Injured in a Sun Glare Accident in Alabama? Contact the Mike Bell Firm, Birmingham for Assistance
Even if you do everything possible to avoid accidents caused by bright sunlight, you cannot control the actions of others on the road. If you or a loved one suffered injury in an auto accident that was caused by another person or party, you need strong legal counsel by your side fighting hard for maximum compensation.
If the accident occurred in Alabama, call the Mike Bell Firm, Birmingham at 205-666-6000 or message us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and inform you of your legal rights and options.
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