As the calendar flips past the fall equinox on September 23, we all notice the days getting shorter. The sun starts to go down earlier in the evenings, and the first rays of dawn appear as many of us are already on the road, heading to work or dropping kids off at school.
This change in natural light might seem like a minor inconvenience, something to grumble about over coffee. This shift in daylight hours isn’t just an annoyance. It’s a major disruptor when it comes to road safety, affecting everything from visibility to the timing of accidents.
The Deer Factor
According to a study published in Current Biology, the week following the end of daylight saving time sees a 16% increase in deer-vehicle crashes. The research estimates that sticking to daylight saving time year-round could prevent 33 human deaths, and 2,054 human injuries, and save $1.19 billion in collision costs annually.1
Driving at Dusk and Dawn
The National Safety Council reports that the peak time for accidents, both fatal and non-fatal, in 2020 was between 4 PM–7:59 PM. This period aligns with the time of sunset and dusk, making it a dangerous time to be on the road2. Tips for driving safely during these hours include:
- Keeping your windshield clean
- Wearing polarized sunglasses
- Using the flip-down visor
- Slowing down and being aware of your surroundings.
The Impact of Sun Glare
Sun glare can be a significant distraction, especially during the hours of dawn and dusk. It can impair a driver’s ability to stay focused and make it difficult to see what’s ahead.2
The Dangers of Driving at Dawn
Driving at dawn presents its own set of challenges. The rising sun can create a blinding glare, making it difficult to see the road, other vehicles, and pedestrians. This is especially true during heavy morning traffic when most people are heading to work or school. To navigate these tricky conditions, consider the following:
- Clean your windshield regularly to reduce glare.
- Use your car’s sun visor to block out the sun.
- Slow down and increase your following distance.
How to Prevent Sun Glare While Driving
Sun glare is not just an annoyance but it’s a genuine safety concern. Here are some practical ways to prevent sun glare:
Invest in a pair of polarized sunglasses.
- Adjust your rearview and side mirrors to avoid reflections.
- Use your car’s sun visor effectively.
- Consider installing a glare-reducing window tint.
The Setting Sun and Your Eyes
As the sun sets, your eyes need time to adjust to the changing light conditions. This period of adjustment can be risky, especially when combined with the fatigue of a long day. To help your eyes adjust:
- Avoid looking directly at the setting sun.
- Blink frequently to refresh your eyes.
- Take breaks if you’re on a long drive.
Time for Dawn and Dusk
Knowing the time for dawn and dusk can be a lifesaver, literally. Some apps and websites can tell you the exact times for sunrise and sunset in your location. Use this information to plan your commute and avoid driving during the most dangerous times.3
Seeking Expert Guidance from A Georgia Car Accident Attorney
The end of daylight saving time brings about a host of challenges for drivers. From increased deer activity to the blinding glare of the setting sun, it’s a time to be extra cautious on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident during these tricky driving conditions, professional help is available.
For personalized advice tailored to your situation, book a consultation today with Flanagan Law, your trusted law firm in Atlanta, Georgia.