I’ve noticed some near misses on the roads in the last few weeks as drivers contend with the glare from the low sun which is often a problem during the winter months. According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), Government figures show that glare from the sun was a cause of 2,684 injury crashes in 2009 – that’s as many as headlamp dazzle and bad weather combined.

So why is it such a problem at this time of year? During the winter, daylight hours are shorter and motorists will travel during parts of the day experiencing low sun conditions. The vehicle’s sun visor is less effective at screening the low angled sun we see in winter because the light is too low for the visor to be effective. Every day situations like vehicles stopping unexpectedly or cars changing lanes can become potentially hazardous when low angled sun impairs the driver’s ability to see clearly.

Now obviously drivers can’t change the sun’s position, but they can take steps to make sure their visibility is as clear as possible and also to make changes to their driving style. First of all keep your windscreen clean both inside and out as a dirty windscreen adds to the danger when the sun is low. Secondly, if you can’t see properly slow right down and look very carefully because the glare can obscure vehicles at roundabouts for instance. Also be aware of the fact that other drivers might not be able to see you when you are changing lanes or pulling out of a junction.

Often it isn’t until it happens to you that you remember how difficult it is driving with the glare from the low sun, so it’s certainly worth fleets reminding their drivers whether business or private motorists, so they can take the necessary precautions.