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Glaringly Smart Driving

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The snow may have melted but the dip in temperature is an obvious reminder that the winter season is far from over. We may have said farewell to the icy road conditions but the melting ice and increased rainfall brings their own air of caution.

The low winter sun can be so intense that it is difficult to see the road in normal driving conditions but add the reflecting light from the now wet surfaces it can be even more stressful on your eyes.

Glare describes the reflection of light as it bounces off a wet surface or ice causing us to squint and hinder our vision.

Although degrees of sensitivity to glare varies from one person to the next, generally middle-aged and older drivers are more sensitive to glare as our eyes naturally take longer to adjust to changing light levels as we get older. Those with lighter eye colour are also more susceptible to glare.

Essentially glare can impair our ability to react which in turn can affect our driving efficacy.

There are some simple steps we can take to counter the effects of glare when driving…

  1. Keep all glass surfaces on and in the car clear and smudge free particularly your windscreen. Ensure the water reservoir is full and in particularly cold weather, use anti-freeze. This includes glasses and contact lenses that should be free of scratches and kept as clear as possible at all times. Eyeglass wearers are strongly recommended to get anti-reflective (AR) coating to improve vision at night as well as reduce glare.
  2. Drive cautiously, do not exceed advisory speed limit and leave the correct amount of breaking distance to ensure you have plenty of time to react.
  3. Always keep a pair of quality sunglasses in your car whatever the weather. Invest in a pair of 100% UV blocking sunglasses and those who have particular trouble with glare should buy a pair with polarised lenses. Using polarised lenses is the only truly effective way of eliminating glare.
  4. Ensure your car sun visor is in good working order and make it a habit to use it to block out some of the reflective light. Remember most visors can also be pulled to the side if the source of light is not directly ahead.
  5. Have regular eye checks to maintain good vision, it’s not just age that can make eyes more sensitive to glare, certain medical conditions can sometimes increase sensitivity. Your optometrist will be able to recommend effective treatment.

With the holiday season a distant memory and traffic congestion back to normal, remember to drive safely, whatever the weather.

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