The glare of the setting sun during rush hour is to blame for 36 deaths a year in Britain .
An Automobile report warns that the danger is particularly high in spring and autmun as the sun sets at about 6pm - just as most drivers are heading for home.
It plays a part in nearly 3000 accidents in Britain each year with drivers at risk of being temporarily ‘blinded’ by the dazzle of the sun on the windscreen.
The biggest danger is on minor roads.
The AA report says that of the 2905 accidents in which sun dazzle was reported to be a factor last year, 52 happened on motorways, 1203 on A-roads, 428 on B-roads and 1222 on other minor roads.
AA president Edmund King said most drivers were sensible enough to slow down when they were 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 also points out that the rate of head-on crashes involving lorries nearly quadruples in twilight conditions.
The report says: “If the vehicle casts a long shadow in front of it, it is very likely that oncoming drivers and those coming out of turnings will have difficulty seeing it.”
The AA says there are three ‘golden rules’ for sunset driving:
Keep your windscreen clean - including the inside.
If blinded, slow down immediately. It’s tempting to carry on regardless in expectation of the glare passing but by then it may be too late.
If driving at sunset, anticipate the effects of glare on you and other drivers. Drivers heading west or through terrain where the sun may appear suddenly need to expect to travel more slowly than usual.
‘WATCH THEIR BACKS’
The AA says that the danger of sunset coinciding with the rush-hour poses different challengers for different road users.
It 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.
The AA says its own research based on official 2004 pedestrian casualty statistics, shows that 10.8 percent of the 5566 pedestrians killed or seriously injured were walking or running with their backs to the traffic. This compares with 5.9 percent of casualties who were facing oncoming cars. - Daily Mail