The number of accidents caused by the dazzling effects of a seasonally low sun has increased by 12 per cent year on year, according to new data published by the Department for Transport.
Figures taken from the Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2012 Annual Report reveal that the dazzling sun accounted for 2,905 accidents in 2012, compared to 2,592 in 2011. The report highlights that 41 per cent of all sun-dazzle accidents last year were on A-roads, compared to 1.7 per cent on motorways.
Officials believe that the hike in accident rates was down to an increase in autumnal sunshine during 2012, coupled with heavy rain showers that can create a mirror-like surface on the road.
The risk of dazzling sun is particularly high during October, as sunset occurs earlier and increasingly coincides with rush-hour traffic.
The sun’s low position in the sky, combined with damper road surface conditions, poses a considerable problem for commuters.
AA president Edmund King said most drivers are sensible enough to slow down when they are dazzled.
“But where a dazzling sunset gets particularly nasty is when the road turns unexpectedly into it or the glare appears from behind trees or buildings or by reflection,” he said.
“Drivers can’t gamble that it will change quickly – in the couple of hundred yards that takes to happen, there may be a pedestrian, cyclist or jogger.
“Likewise, overtaking into low sunlight when the road ahead is obscured is risking disaster.”
The AA asks all motorists to be extra careful during the autumn months and advises car owners to ensure windscreens are as clean as possible and free from cracks.
It also urges drivers to ‘watch the backs’ of joggers, dog walkers and pedestrians as these groups are almost twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents if they have their backs to the vehicles.
Picture from Brett Sayer/Flickr