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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Risk of Sun Glare Could Increase as Spring Approaches

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Spring is approaching, and that means an increased risk of accidents due to drivers being temporarily blinded by the sun. 

March 19 is the beginning of the Spring Equinox. Mandy Büttgen-Quinn, a traffic safety professional with the City of Springfield, said that sun glare poses a higher risk during this time of year because as the sun moves, it goes in direct east and west alignment.

“So, during that time, since in America most streets are in east and west alignment, it can be a little bit of a problem, because the sun will be really low, glaring right at you.”

She said properly using sun visors while driving and keeping a set of polarized sunglasses on hand can mitigate the hazards of windshield glare caused by the sun.

Sergeant John Lueckenhoff with the Missouri Highway Patrol Troop D said sun glare is just as much a hazard as anything else that can obstruct a driver’s line of sight. 

“Glare in the windshield from the sun is just like any other visibility reduction situation, such as fog or heavy rain. Know that it prevents you from being able to clearly see what’s ahead.”

Lueckenhoff said there are things you can do to try to avoid accidents when sun glare is a problem.

“Everything you would normally do during fog or severe rain, you also need to do with the sun glaring in your face, such as slowing down, creating greater following distances, etc.”

According to Büttgen-Quinn, other things causing problems for drivers this time of year are moisture on windshields and the potential for fog to build up on the insides of windows if the vehicle is not warmed up properly. She said keeping your windshield clean and warming your vehicle properly can reduce the chance of an accident.

The National Highway Traffic safety Administration website has information about hazards associated with driving and tips to mitigate those hazards.