Road Accidents Caused by Sun Razzle-Dazzle on the Increase
SO LET’S KEEP THOSE WINDSCREENS CLEAN AND BE AWARE!
We’re are now in that time of year when rush-hour coincides with the sun setting, and the danger of road accidents that is evident when the sun’s position is low in the sky is on the increase; so says The Department for Transport’s Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report.
According to the newly published report, there has been a 12% increase in the number of accidents caused by drivers being affected by the dazzling sun when compared to 2011.
There were 2,905 accidents in 2012 in comparison to 2011’s 2,592, with 41% of the sun-dazzle accidents taking place on ‘A’ roads against just 1.7% on motorways.
The figures were collected and released by quality screen wash manufacturer Prestone who put two and two together for our benefit to let us know that it is at this time that we are at our most vulnerable, although they did point out that there were more sunshine hours in 2012 than in 2011 (according to the MET office) so the figures will be higher – with more to come this year if early figures are correct.But it’s not the sun alone that is the reason for accidents as it combines with damper road surface conditions as the autumn kicks in to leave windscreens dirty, greasy or scratched with reduced visibility to make it worse. According to the figures in the report, 2,448 accidents in 2012 were down to weather-related conditions such as rain, sleet, snow and fog (the second highest contributory factor) with glare from headlights, spray from other vehicles and dirty, scratched or frosted windscreens a factor in a further 814 accidents.
Juliette Mullineux, Prestone Brand Manager, explains: “During autumn motorists are likely to find their vision affected by a range of external factors like low dazzling sun, rain, road spray and traffic grime. It’s often not apparent just how dirty a windscreen is until the rising or setting sun hits it at a low angle, so it’s vital that motorists prepare their car by using a good quality screen wash to maintain a clear view of the road. Motorists often forget that driving without screen wash is illegal and carries a penalty of three points and a hefty fine.”
And they suggest, unsurprisingly, that it is important that motorists use the highest quality screen wash to keep windscreens clear for maximum visibility rather than a milk carton filled with tap water and a touch of washing up liquid dropped in. Prestone produce screen wash with in-built ‘Rain Guard’ technology and a Bug Wash constituent so that all angles are covered.
- Make sure that your windscreen washer reservoir is always topped up and ready to use. It’s actually illegal not to have it done (as Juliette said above)
- Use a screen wash with excellent freeze protection to avoid the cold weather expanding and damaging your pipes
- Make sure that both front and rear windscreens and side windows are clean INSIDE AND OUT!
- If your windscreen (or any other window) is damaged, be it a chip, abrasion or scratch, GET IT FIXED. They all make sun dazzle worse which can impede your vision and cause an accident. It can also make you fail your MOT
- If your windscreen wipers are cracked, torn, split or worn, replace them; because streaks make vision worse on the roads
- Make sure your washer jets are clean and adjusted correctly by using a pin or a needle. And make sure that the pipes are clean too!
- When you get out of the car, make sure you switch off the wipers before turning off the ignition. If you leave them on the screen in the cold weather they will stick to it; and when you start the car again they will try and move; possibly damaging them.
- Keep a pair of sunglasses with polarised lenses in the car to reduce the impact of sun dazzle. You might look silly but it could save you being in an accident.
- Make sure that you check all of your exterior light bulbs and replace if necessary as soon as possible; and use your headlights if the weather is bad, 30 minutes before sunset, and 30 minutes after sunrise – as well as at the obvious darker times.
AND THEN YOU WILL AVOID THE OLD RAZZLE-DAZZLE!