SANTA CLARA – Early morning sun was cited as the main contributing factor in an accident on a neighborhood street in Santa Clara Thursday morning, and while the accident was relatively minor, it serves as a reminder that glare from the sun or even headlights at night can create very hazardous driving conditions.
Reports of the accident came in at about 8:20 a.m., Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department spokesman Chad Holt said.
A 78-year-old Santa Clara man was driving east on Crestview Drive with the rising sun in his eyes, Holt said. When the man came to a slight bend in the road, he could not see the road and drove into a parked vehicle at full speed.
The man was driving a black Saturn sedan and struck a white Toyota Highlander, causing substantial damage to the front ends of both vehicles. The Saturn had to be towed from the scene, while the Toyota was already at the owner’s home.
The man was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George with minor injuries, Holt said, and will be issued a citation in connection with the collision.
The Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department and the Santa Clara Fire Department responded to the incident.
The glaring problem
Drivers need to be aware of potential hazards caused by the rising or setting sun, Holt said, and the way many area streets run east-west. Drivers need to use sunglasses and visors and slow down.
“Make sure in the morning times and in the evening times,” Holt said, “when that sun’s sitting there – you need to slow down and pay attention.”
When the rising or setting sun shines directly into drivers’ eyes, the resulting glare can make it much harder to see the road ahead and potential hazards, creating an added risk to drivers, the American Automobile Association says. When sun glare is an issue, slow down and use extra caution – especially while driving through school zones.
So how can you protect yourself?
AAA offers these tips for motorists when driving into the sun:
- Invest in polarized sunglasses – they can help reduce glare
- Utilize your vehicle’s sun visor – it can help block out the sun
- Leave more following room – when the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing; this is one more time when it pays to leave more room between you and the next vehicle
- Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other drivers
- Keep your windshield clean, inside and out
- Check your windshield for pitting and cracks
- Avoid storing papers or other items on the dashboard that can creative reflective glare on the windshield
- If you are having a difficult time seeing the road, use lane markings to help guide you
Rarely will visibility be absolutely perfect while driving; but if motorists make the proper adjustments, they can minimize any additional risks that come with less-than-optimal visual conditions.
This report includes preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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