- Number of road accidents caused by sun dazzle increased 12 per cent in 2012
- Risk of accidents increased by higher levels of autumn sunshine
- Setting sun poses heightened risk to motorists during rush hour
- Ensuring windscreen is clean essential at this time of year
According to newly published data concerning road traffic accidents in the UK, there has been a 12 per cent increase in accidents resulting from dazzling sun affecting motorists’ vision (2012 versus 2011).
Figures taken from The Department for Transport’s 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.
Prestone, a leading manufacturer of quality screen wash, has identified that the increase in accident rates attributable to dazzling sun is consistent with weather data from the MET Office, which indicates that there were 277 hours of autumn sunshine in 2011 versus almost 293 hours for the same period in 2012.
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. Prestone highlights that dirty, greasy or scratched windscreens reduce visibility and compound the problem, particularly during the autumn.
The figures reinforce the importance to motorists of using the highest quality screen wash to keep windscreens clear for maximum visibility. Juliette Mullineux, Prestone Brand Manager, explains: “During autumn motorists are likely to find their vision affected by a range of external factors like low dazzling sun, rain, road spray and traffic grime. It’s often not apparent just how dirty a windscreen is until the rising or setting sun hits it at a low angle, so it’s vital that motorists prepare their car by using a good quality screen wash to maintain a clear view of the road. Motorists often forget that driving without screen wash is illegal and carries a penalty of three points and a hefty fine.”
Weather-related conditions, such as rain, sleet, snow and fog were the second highest contributory factor, according to the new figures, accounting for 2,448 accidents in 2012. Headlight glare, spray from other vehicles and dirty, scratched or frosted windscreens were a factor in a further 814 accidents.
Award-winning Prestone Screen Wash effectively removes frost and light ice, cleans traffic dirt and reduces dangerous re-freeze. In-built ‘Rain Guard’ technology helps to repel rain and road spray, while the Bug Wash constituent effectively removes stubborn insect deposits, tree sap and bird droppings. With a freeze protection formula that works down to minus 23°C, Prestone Screen Wash is also extremely unlikely to freeze in washer fluid reservoirs, ensuring that motorists can keep their windscreen clear all winter.
Prestone Screen Wash is available from Tesco, Wilkinson, Homebase, ASDA and leading car accessory stores. For more information on Prestone Screen Wash, retailer locations or other Prestone products, please call 0161 866 4800.
Top 10 Tips to maintain good visibility
1. Keep windscreen washer reservoir topped up, so fluid is always available when needed (note, this is also a legal requirement)
2. Use a screen wash with excellent freeze protection, otherwise it may freeze in colder temperatures, and can cause damage as it freezes and expands in pipes
3. Ensure front and rear windscreens and side windows are clean both inside and out
4. Fix – or replace – damaged windscreens as soon as possible: scratches, abrasions and chips compound sun dazzle and can impede vision and lead to an MOT failure
5. Replace cracked, torn, split or worn wiper blades, as streaks can impair visibility
6. Clean and adjust washer jets using a pin or needle & wash the pipes through with screen wash
7. Switch wipers off when leaving the car: if left on, wipers frozen to the screen will try to free themselves to resume their natural start position when the ignition is engaged, possibly damaging the blade and the wiper motor
8. Keep a pair of sunglasses with polarised lenses in the car to reduce the impact of sun dazzle
9. Regularly check all exterior light bulbs and replace if necessary as soon as possible
10. Use headlights during inclement weather and at least 30 minutes before sunset and for at least 30 minutes after sun rise