Blinded By The Setting Sun: Causes And Prevention

Driving towards a setting sun can be dangerous. The glare and decreased visibility puts you at risk of an accident. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Wear sunglasses, adjust your sun visors, slow down, and be extra alert when driving west in the evening hours.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore what causes sun glare while driving, analyze accident statistics, and provide tips to prevent glare blindness and drive safely under these conditions.

What Causes Glare Blindness When Driving Toward the Setting Sun?

Glare blindness when driving toward the setting sun can be a common and dangerous problem for many drivers. The intense light from the sun can make it difficult to see the road ahead, potentially leading to accidents. There are several factors that contribute to this issue, including:

The low angle of the sun in the evening

One of the main causes of glare blindness when driving toward the setting sun is the low angle of the sun in the evening. As the sun starts to set, it gets closer to the horizon, resulting in a direct line of sight between the driver’s eyes and the sun.

This angle increases the intensity of the sunlight and makes it more challenging to see the road ahead.

Light scattering and reflection inside the car

Another factor that exacerbates glare blindness is the scattering and reflection of light inside the car. When sunlight enters the vehicle, it can bounce off various surfaces such as the dashboard, windshield, or side mirrors.

This scattered light can create a blinding effect, further obstructing the driver’s vision and making it difficult to focus on the road.

Insufficiently tinted windshields and windows

The lack of proper tinting on windshields and windows can also contribute to glare blindness. Tinted windows help to reduce the amount of sunlight entering the vehicle, reducing the intensity of the glare.

However, if the windows are not adequately tinted, the sun’s rays can still penetrate the glass, causing significant glare and impairing the driver’s ability to see clearly.

To prevent glare blindness when driving toward the setting sun, there are a few measures that can be taken. Firstly, it is recommended to use sunglasses with polarized lenses, as they can effectively filter out the intense glare caused by the sun.

Secondly, adjusting the sun visor in the car to block direct sunlight can provide some relief. Lastly, maintaining a safe following distance and reducing speed can give drivers more time to react to any unexpected obstacles on the road.

It is essential to prioritize road safety and take proactive steps to minimize the risk of accidents due to glare blindness when driving toward the setting sun. Being aware of the causes and implementing preventive measures can go a long way in ensuring a safer driving experience for everyone on the road.

Sun Glare Accident Statistics and Trends

Every day, drivers across the country face the challenge of sun glare while behind the wheel. This phenomenon occurs when the sun’s rays directly hit a driver’s eyes, reducing visibility and increasing the risk of accidents.

Understanding the statistics and trends related to sun glare accidents can help raise awareness and promote prevention strategies.

More crashes occur in the westbound direction in late afternoon/early evening

According to traffic safety experts, there is a higher incidence of sun glare accidents in the late afternoon and early evening, particularly in the westbound direction. This is because the setting sun is often directly in the line of sight of drivers traveling west, creating a blinding effect.

As a result, drivers may struggle to see other vehicles, pedestrians, or potential hazards on the road, leading to an increased risk of collisions.

Large peak around sunset hours nationwide

Nationwide data reveals a significant spike in accidents occurring around sunset hours. As the sun descends on the horizon, its intense rays can create a dazzling effect that impairs drivers’ vision. This peak in accidents emphasizes the importance of taking extra precautions during this time of day, such as using sun visors, wearing polarized sunglasses, and maintaining a safe following distance.

Higher risk for older drivers

Older drivers, in particular, may be more vulnerable to the dangers of sun glare. As we age, our eyes become more sensitive to bright light, making it harder to adapt to sudden changes in lighting conditions.

Additionally, older adults may have pre-existing vision conditions that further exacerbate the impact of sun glare. It is crucial for older drivers to be aware of these risks and take appropriate measures to ensure their safety on the road.

Tips to Prevent Sun Glare Accidents When Driving West

Wear sunglasses to reduce glare

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to combat sun glare when driving west is to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses with polarized lenses are particularly helpful in reducing the intensity of the sun’s glare.

They block horizontal light waves, which are responsible for the blinding effect caused by the sun. By wearing sunglasses, drivers can significantly improve their visibility and reduce the risk of accidents.

Use sun visors effectively

Another useful tip to prevent sun glare accidents is to use the sun visors in your vehicle effectively. Sun visors are designed to block the sun’s rays and provide shade, allowing drivers to see the road clearly.

When driving west, adjust the sun visors to cover the areas where the sun’s glare is most intense. This simple adjustment can make a significant difference in reducing the blinding effect of the sun.

Clean inside windshield and windows

A clean windshield and windows are essential for optimal visibility, especially when dealing with sun glare. Dust, dirt, and smudges on the inside of your windshield and windows can intensify the glare from the sun, making it even more difficult to see the road ahead.

Regularly clean the inside of your vehicle’s windows using a glass cleaner to ensure a clear view and minimize the impact of sun glare.

Slow down and increase following distance

When driving west during sunset or sunrise, it’s crucial to adjust your driving habits to account for the sun’s glare. Reduce your speed and increase the following distance between your vehicle and the one ahead.

This allows for more reaction time in case of sudden changes in traffic or road conditions. By slowing down and maintaining a safe distance, you can better navigate through the glare and avoid potential accidents.

Be extra alert scanning farther down the road

When driving into the sun, it’s important to be extra vigilant and scan the road ahead for potential hazards. Look further down the road to identify any obstacles, pedestrians, or vehicles that may be affected by the sun’s glare.

By anticipating potential hazards, you can take proactive measures to avoid accidents, such as adjusting your speed or changing lanes if necessary.

Remember, accidents caused by sun glare are preventable. By following these tips and taking extra precautions when driving west, you can minimize the risks associated with sun glare and ensure a safer journey.


Driving towards a setting sun can be treacherous. By understanding the causes of sun glare, taking proper precautions, and adapting your driving, you can mitigate the risks. Stay safe on the roads by being prepared for sun glare blindness, especially when traveling westbound in the evening hours.

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