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Brooke Walker ReportingThis time of year sunsets can be particularly stunning, but that sun we admire can be dangerous for drivers.
Every evening the sun glares directly into the eyes of westbound drivers. We experienced it for ourselves yesterday evening. It wasn't what we saw that got our attention----it was what we couldn't see.
Bright and blinding, the sun is one road barrier that isn't going away. It makes the stoplights hard to distinguish--you can't tell green from yellow -- and road lines almost invisible. That was the situation on Wednesday morning when a motorcyclist was hit from behind while traveling east on I-215.
The sun was so bright, that the driver said he couldn't even see him. The motorcyclist walked away with only minor injuries, but others on the road have not been as fortunate. In the last five years, drivers have reported 634 accidents due to windshield obstruction--the sun being one of those factors. Six people died in those accidents.
Jeff Nigbur, Utah Highway Patrol: "People need to be aware of their surroundings before they get into a situation like that."
Trooper Jeff Nigbur says often times drivers don't realize the sun can be a deadly distraction.
Jeff Nigbur: "If that does happen and you do get into sunlight and it does blind you, you need to back off the accelerator a bit."
Keeping your windshield clean is important, and using sunglasses or a sun visor can also be helpful. But the best way to stay safe is just being aware.
Jeff Nigbur: "When you're coming around the bend, for example on 2-15 south, and you can see when the sun is coming over that's going to be a factor when your driving and you want to anticipate that. Be aware of your surroundings and what's going on. And drive safely according to that."
The closer we get to winter, the lower the sun drops in the sky, so this advice is especially important this time of the year.