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Driving Safely at Sunrise and Sunset

As a new teen driver, one of the challenges you will face on the road is driving at sunrise and sunset. This is particularly true as the winter days arrive when we have less and less sunlight. Students that have early morning study groups or athletic commitments will be faced with driving at one of both of these times almost every day.

Here are a few driving tips to help you drive safer during sunrise and sunset:

• Always keep a quality pair of sunglasses around when you are driving or could be driving at these times of the day. If you wear prescription glasses, get a set of prescription sunglasses. Keep them on your head or use a lanyard to hold them around your neck so you can put them on as soon as you need them.
• Your lights should be on during these times of the day. While you may not need your headlights, your taillights will help drivers struggling with the sun to see your car.
• Make sure the windows are clean. When the sunlight is shining directly into the windows, it can make seeing through dirty or smeared windows very difficult.
• Traffic will naturally slow down during these times because drivers will have problems looking directly into the sun. Plan for this and know traffic will be moving slower than usual.
• Pay attention to your turns. If you are turning east during sunrise or west during sunset, get yourself prepared for the direct sunlight.
• Use your visor when needed. Even if you do not have glasses, you can deflect some of the sunlight away from your eyes by using the visor.
• If you forget your glasses or are uncomfortable driving with the visor down, simply pull off the road to be safe. The most dangerous moments only last a few minutes. Once the sun is in a position where it is no longer directly in your eyes, you can get back on the road. Remember, it is always better to play it safe and pull off the road than to continue and risk an accident.
• If there are other cars on the road, give them extra space. Remember, just because you are prepared does not mean everyone else is. That extra space will give you more time to react if something happens in front of you.

*Photo Courtesy of Richard Harrison via Creative Commons License