Watch Out For Sun Glare While Driving

Yesterday’s Des Moines Register included a warning about the direct east-west sun glare that occurs at this time of the year and in April:

“A Des Moines driver was westbound on Grand Avenue in Des Moines last week when she made a turn onto Fifth Avenue and struck a bicyclist.

Carolynn Guay, 50, of Des Moines, told police the sun was in her eyes and she did not see bicyclist Zachary Rose, 20, of Des Moines. He was not seriously injured.

This is the time of year when the sun’s glare is particularly dangerous for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.

The danger exists a few weeks before and after September 4 when the early morning and late afternoon sun is lining up with Iowa’s east-west streets.

The danger also exists in the spring a few weeks before and after April 6.

Guay was in the 400 block of Grand Avenue about 5 p.m. Wednesday, turning right onto Fifth Avenue when the accident occurred, police said. Rose was hit while in the crosswalk.

Guay was traveling at a low speed, police said. She was charged with failure to yield.

Fire department medics treated Rose at the scene. They did not take him to a hospital.


Wear sunglasses

Keep windshield clean inside and outside

Use visor

Delay driving until sun is not a factor”


The Register article omitted a very important safety measure — Vehicles and bicycles traveling away from the sun and towards traffic facing the glare should have headlights on to help the drivers on the opposite side see them through the sun’s glare.

On an editorial note, I ‘m glad that the driver mentioned in the article was cited for this accident.  Drivers whose view is obstructed or who can’t see for some reason still have an obligation to make sure it’s safe to turn before doing so.  Sun glare is not an excuse and the cyclist is lucky that he wasn’t seriously injured by this vehicle.  The same is true for any acts of nature (sun, rain, fog, snow, ice, etc.) that may affect driving ability.   Drivers are required to drive in a manner that is safe under the conditions.  That means if a driver is blinded by the sun the driver must take extra time to ensure that it is clear and safe to turn before doing so.  By the same token, it’s hard to see at night too, which is why everyone should be more careful when driving in the dark.

Please feel free to contact me if you have a motorcycle crash, car accident or other personal injury or wrongful death matter you would like to discuss.


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