What happens when good weather conditions translate to more road accidents?

A woman crossing the road
4 minute read

With offices throughout the South West and on the East Coast, we have represented hundreds of clients who were victims of accidents where weather conditions played a role on the cause of the accident. Our regions are very touristic and full of A-roads and small country lanes that are often more challenging – especially for drivers not used to them. Add to that difficult weather conditions and you get a recipe that unfortunately often results into road traffic collisions.

During the month of August we have teamed up with road safety charity Roadpeace to raise awareness of common lessons learnt from personal injury road incident claims to help reduce the number of people injured or killed because of them. In this article we are exploring the impact of sun glare on driving.

When sunlight can kill

British summers may not always be the warmest but are often very sunny with sunlight lasting up to 17 hours of the day. Many vulnerable road users decide to make the most out of the good weather and take to the roads to enjoy it. Last spring saw the introduction of the new “Highway Code” that put responsibility on the road users in vehicles with the potential of causing the biggest harm to protect the more vulnerable ones. In fact we have prepared a series of useful articles here that can help you understand your rights but also responsibilities depending on how you access the roads.

Regardless of what type of vehicle you are driving you have a responsibility to drive at a safe speed, ensuring you take suitable measures to remove any potential distractions that would weaken your ability to quickly adapt your driving when you encounter other road users.

One of those distractions can be the sunlight itself. Sun glare affects drivers’ vision of the road and can create artificial “blind spots” preventing drivers from seeing other road users on time and thereby affecting their safety. The angle between the driver’s line of sight and the sun’s position can have a big impact on a driver’s visibility even when they wear sunglasses. According to Rule 237 of the Highway Code drivers must slow down or even pull over if blinded by sun glare. Wearing sunglasses is not a sufficient defence if a driver causes an accident because they failed to see another road user due to sun glare. It can lead to a careless driving criminal conviction.

Drivers are advised to keep their windscreens clean, wear sunglasses and take corrective actions like significantly reduce speed or take a break to help prevent accidents.

What should I do if I got injured by a driver blinded by sunlight?

During the last 20 years we have seen a number of cases go through both civil and criminal courts where sun glare was deemed to have significantly contributed to a road traffic collision taking place.  Even though criminal courts often offer some leniency to drivers of motorised vehicles that get (temporarily) blinded by the sun and do not see more vulnerable road users (most frequently motorbikes, scooters and cyclists) causing them injury, civil courts tend to hold them more accountable for their actions awarding victims compensation to help them recover from their injuries and adapt to a potentially changed life because of them.

One thing coming out of both cases and news clippings alike is that collisions involving sun glare tend to result in very serious injuries and sadly often death. That is because the driver of the bigger vehicle usually causing the collision does not see the other road user at all until they collide with them. That often means the collision takes place at a higher speed and without the driver having made any corrective actions to avoid it.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a road traffic collision caused by a driver blinded by the sun, you need to speak to a specialist solicitor with experience supporting clients who have had a similar experience. Sun glare has been used as a mitigating factor time and time again, but an experienced personal injury solicitor will be able to help you understand what happened and fight your corner to get access to compensation to help you get your life back on track following your injury.

In those tragic cases where a road traffic collision leads to someone’s death our experienced team can help you through the inquest process and give you honest advice and support if you choose to pursue a claim on the behalf of the deceased person.

To have a free, no obligation, confidential discussion with a member of our team call us on 0800 044 8488  or alternatively fill in our contact form here Contact Us – Enable Law so we can give you a call back at a time convenient to you.

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