Man and Woman drive in car, facing the sun set with sun glare coming through windshield before being involved in a winter car crash in MassachusettsYou know to drive more carefully in the winter, especially when snowy and icy road conditions exist. Driving on clear sunny days, however, can be just as dangerous. Car accidents are more likely to happen when a driver is blinded by the bright glare of the sun. 

A sun glare car accident happens when the sun's intense brightness impacts a driver’s vision. Because of the sun glare, a driver has reduced visibility and cannot see other drivers or road hazards. The intense brightness can temporarily blind drivers and increase the risk of a car crash because it is hard for the driver to see pedestrians, cyclists, other cars, and road signs. 

Sun glare contributes to and causes many car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some studies have shown that sun glare can increase car accidents by 16% and that sun glare is responsible for nearly 10,000 car crashes each year. 

If you were injured in a Massachusetts winter car accident, call or text our office for a free consultation at (617) 889-5000. We will review your case for free, explain your legal options, give you advice, and explain how we can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, injuries, and pain and suffering. If tragedy strikes and a family member or loved one is killed in a sun glare driving accident, we can also represent you in a wrongful death lawsuit. If the other driver says they were blinded by the sun, that is NOT a valid legal defense. 

Sun Glare Car Accidents Increase in the Winter in Massachusetts and the Northeast

Sun glare can increase car accidents more dramatically depending on geographical location, the time of day, weather conditions, and an individual’s driving habits. In some areas, sun glare can be so intense and dangerous that highways and roads are shut down for certain times of the day. 

While sun glare accidents can happen anywhere, and all drivers should be careful and try to mitigate the risks of driving with reduced visibility due to sun glare, drivers in the Northeast should be particularly careful.

The Northeast Region of the United States, including Massachusetts, may experience more sun glare accidents than other places. This is partially due to geography and partly because the Boston and Massachusetts area is highly urbanized with tall buildings and dense traffic, which creates more potential for the sunlight to reflect off surfaces like buildings, vehicles, or water if by a river or the shoreline.

During the winter, sun glare increases because the sun’s position causes its rays to hit the earth at a lower angle. In comparison, in the summer, the sun is angled higher in the sky, appears more straight up, and is never in a blinding position for as long as it is in the winter. The sun also seems brighter in the winter because there are fewer particles and less water in the air, which makes it more transparent.   

Why Are Sun Glare Car Accidents More Common in the Winter in Massachusetts? 

  1. Longer Nights: In Massachusetts winters, the days are shorter and the nights are longer. The timing of the sunset and sunrise leads to more drivers being on the road during the sunrise and sunset during their morning and evening commutes. This means there is an increase in drivers on the roads during the peak sun glare times. 
  2. Clear Skies: The crisp air and clear skies that often come with winter weather allow sunlight to shine without clouds obstructing or interrupting it. Sun glare can be much more intense when there are no clouds in the sky to diffuse the sunlight.
  3. Lower Sun Angle: The sun’s angle is lower on average in the winter months compared to other seasons. This is even more true during morning and evening commute times. The lower angle of the sun during the winter and during sunrise and sunset means sunlight can shine more directly into people’s eyes, reducing visibility while driving.  
  4. Reflective Surfaces: Winter weather brings snow, freezing rain, and ice. Snow, ice, and water on the roads create highly reflective surfaces. The precipitation allows sunlight to bounce upward and amplify the sun's glare. 

What Time of Day is Sun Glare the Worst in Massachusetts Winters?

Sun glare is most extreme during sunrise and sunset. Sunrise, the hour after, and the hour before sunset are typically when the sun's glare is the worst. The worst of the sun's glare typically lasts 45 minutes up to one hour. Most car accidents caused by sun glare happen during sunrise or sunset because the sun's angle is low, and the sunlight can directly enter a driver’s eyes or reflect off the road, other vehicles, buildings, and other surfaces. 

Sun glare being the worst in the morning and evening creates a perfect scenario for car accidents as many people commute to and from work during that time. With increased sun glare and more cars on the road, the chances of being involved in a car accident caused by a driver blinded by the sun increase. 

Who is At Fault for a Car Accident Caused by Sun Glare? Being “Blinded by the Sun” is NOT a Defense to a Car Accident

In most cases, the person who was blinded by the sun and caused the car accident will be found at fault for the car accident. Every case is unique, and as car accident attorneys we will investigate all of the car accident details to determine who caused the accident and who is liable. 

One thing is certain: a driver cannot claim they were “blinded by the sun glare” as a defense to their liability for causing a car accident. Massachusetts has no laws that excuse someone from an accident because of sun glare. If the sun is in a driver’s eyes, the law requires that person to drive carefully and to adjust to the weather and road conditions – this includes changing how you drive when the sun is in your eyes.

How Spada Law Helped People Injured by Drivers Who Claimed They Were Blinded By Sun Glare When They Caused an Accident

Pedestrians and cyclists should be cautious when walking, running, or biking at dawn or dusk during the winter. Not only are the road conditions more dangerous in the winter, but the sun's glare in the mornings and late afternoons can make it very difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and cyclists.  

$250,000 Recovered for a Pedestrian Hit in a Crosswalk:

A 25-year-old woman was walking in a crosswalk in Boston with her young child when she was hit by a car. She suffered a broken ankle. The driver’s defense was that he did not see her because he was blinded by the sun. Spada Law was able to represent the woman and help her get a $250,000 settlement.

Woman Hit While Crossing the Road Recovered $120,000:

Our client was crossing the street in Beverly, Massachusetts, around 7 am when she was struck by a car. The driver claimed that he was blinded by the sun as a defense. While being blinded by the sun isn’t a valid defense anyway, in this case, we conducted an investigation and determined that there was no sun glare at the time of the accident. We even contacted two witnesses who could testify that there was no sun glare at the time of the accident, and that sun glare was not a factor in the accident. 

Safe Driving Tips When Driving with Sun Glare in Massachusetts:  

It is crucial for drivers to be aware of the seriousness of sun glare when driving in the winter and to take precautions to reduce its effects.

How to Help Prevent Sun Glare Accidents:

  • Wear protective gear: Using your car’s sun visor and wearing polarized sunglasses can make a big difference when dealing with the bright winter sun glare. Polarized sunglasses are especially effective because they are designed to reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water, snow, and pavement. The specific polarized lens reduces sun glare and improves contrast, clarity, and overall visibility.   
  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: When visibility is poor, it is very important to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you are having a hard time seeing the car in front of you, the driver in front of you probably can’t see well, either. It’s possible that the vehicle in front of you may slow down or brake quickly, and you want more space to react to their changing driving pattern.   
  • Keep the Windshield Clean: A dirty windshield can be dangerous, especially in the winter. When a windshield is dirty, the light that hits the glass scatters. When the sun is directly in front of you, a dirty windshield can make it even harder to see. Make sure you have extra windshield wiper fluid on hand in case you run out. Keeping a roll of paper towels in the car is also a good idea in case you need to wipe off the inside or outside of the windshield.
  • Use Headlights: Headlights can help lessen sun glare in various ways. Headlights can increase your visibility when you are driving into the sun and help you see other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles. Using your headlights can also help other drivers see you even if their visibility is affected by sun glare. Headlights will help increase your visibility and help other drivers see your car.    
  • Slow Down: When you encounter sun glare while driving, the first thing you should do is SLOW down. When you cannot see the road as clearly, you will not be able to react as quickly to other vehicles, pedestrians, or other road hazards.  Going slower will help you avoid a car accident. Slow down to give yourself more reaction time, just as you would if it were foggy, snowing, or pouring rain.  
  • Adjust Driving Times or Routes: If you drive the same route daily, you know whether or not sun glare is an issue. If you can, you can adjust the time you drive to avoid driving during sunrise or sunset. Another option is to change your driving route if possible. If you can spend more time on roads that run North or South, you can avoid traveling directly into the sun. Routes with more coverage from tall buildings and trees could also help block the sun. 

Injured in a Boston or Massachusetts Winter Car Crash? Reach Out to Our Car Accident and Injury Attorney for a FREE Consultation

Car accidents are always terrifying and can result in serious injuries — especially if you were injured in a winter car accident, as they can happen very quickly and unexpectedly. 

Being hurt in a car crash is challenging enough. You have doctor’s visits, possible surgeries, and physical therapy to manage so you can heal. Thankfully, navigating the legal process and dealing with insurance companies doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. That’s what we’re here for.

If you or a loved one were injured in a Massachusetts car crash this winter, you have rights and may be able to get compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work, pain and suffering, and more. Our car accident attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. 

Over the last three decades, we’ve helped thousands of people in Massachusetts get the recovery they need after a car accident injury. Recently, Boston Magazine named Attorney Spada one of Boston’s Top Personal Injury Lawyers. As personal injury lawyers, you never pay us a penny until we win your case. We’re here and ready to help.

We have three offices but proudly serve the entire state with the ability to meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation so we can learn more about your winter car accident and injuries and see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve.

Call or Text Spada Law Group for a Free Consultation Today: (617) 889-5000

Post A Comment