LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Following the death of a Slaton woman Tuesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) put out a warning to all drivers about the dangers of sun glare.
Shirley Simmons, 71 was hit by a vehicle around 7:30 a.m. Monday. The driver says she didn't see Simmons because of the sun.
The NWS reports that Spring and Fall Equinoxes are important astronomical events for the South Plains because many of our roads follow old section lines and have an exact east-west orientation. On the Equinox, the sun rises and sets precisely along this same axis and as such can leave motorists blinded.
Around the Fall Equinox, including the two weeks on either side of the Equinox, our time of sunrise, between 7:30-7:45 a.m., corresponds with the early morning peak traffic rush when people are hurrying to work or taking kids to schools. The most dangerous time is the first 10 to 15 minutes after sunrise when the sun is absolutely on the eastern horizon or directly along the axis of the road.
Motorists driving toward the east can be almost completely blinded by the sun during that critical time, unless we get lucky with clouds or fog that could block the sun. The situation may also result during evening rush for west bound traffic.
There are a few things that you can do to lower your risk:
- be aware that cars traveling toward the sun at sunrise or sunset may be virtually blinded
- clean your windshield thoroughly, including the inside, since dirt and haze on the glass increases glare and makes it especially hard to see
- increase your following distance beyond the recommend safe distances to allow three or more seconds between vehicles
- if you get cut off, keep your cool and maintain a safe distance
- wear sunglasses to help reduce glare
- be alert to changing cloud cover and changing traffic flow
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