Fall sun glare presents hazard for drivers

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Drivers headed east in the morning and west at are facing the hazard of additionally intense sunlight.

It's due to the fall equinox, which officially took place Sept. 22. On that day, the sun rose exactly to the east and set exactly to the west.

"It's blinding. You can't see," said driver Tracy Chapman.

In a city that's laid out by cardinal direction, drivers noticed the glare that comes with every fall season.

"Are we going to tear the whole city down and start again?" joked Chapman.

The Utah Highway Patrol suggests drivers rely on sunglasses and sun visors in addition to slowing down and leaving more room between cars.

"Most of the crashes we respond to on the interstate are following too closely," said highway patrol Sgt. Kellie Oaks.

They also say to pay extra close attention near crosswalks and schools zones, since class is back in session."We do have a lot more children on the road," said Oaks.

Things will only get worse before they get better. Snow, wind and ice are coming up next. Officials say it's the right time to get back into the habit of driving cautiously in hazardous weather.

"As a driver myself, I always maintain a distance of two car lengths," said Oaks.

Vision Council of America (VCA) offers the following tips for motorists to help reduce the dangers caused by glare:

  • Drive cautiously and leave a proper distance to ensure ample reaction time.
  • Make it a habit to lower visors, to help block some of the reflected light.
  • Avoid using high-gloss vinyl cleansers on dashboards.
  • Keep the car windshield clean and the windshield washer fluid reservoir full.
  • When possible, take an alternate route lined with trees or tall buildings in lieu of one with extreme glare.
  • Turn on headlights to reduce the possible poor visibility of oncoming drivers.
  • Most importantly, wear sunglasses at all times. Even more important is to wear sunglasses with polarized lenses to reduce glare, and lenses with UV protection to shield the eyes from damage.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

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Sarah Dallof


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