Be wary of sun strike

VICKI WATERHOUSE
Last updated 15:19 19/06/2012

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Police are advising Manawatu motorists to drive carefully as the sun strike season begins.

As winter sets in and temperatures frequently drop below freezing, sun strike has become one of the many road hazards Palmerston North police are concerned about.

Sun strike is most common at sunrise or sunset, when the sun hits a vehicle's windscreen at a low angle. It is more common in winter because the sun is lower in the sky.

Senior Sergeant Brett Calkin said the best way to guard against sun strike was to ensure a vehicle's windscreen was clean. Dust and dirt amplified effects of sun strike, he said.

A heavy frost on Sunday morning caused black ice on Manawatu roads and was a good reminder for motorists to take care, he said.

No crashes were reported to police but Mr Calkin expected that had more to do with the small number of cars on the road at that time than careful driving.

"If we have a frost like that on a week day then we expect that we will have an increased number of crashes due to the road conditions and sun strike,'' he said.

There was also the increased possibility of black ice on roads, he said.

"It's timely to remind drivers that in the morning when we do have any sort of frost, they need to drive to the conditions,'' he said.

Mr Calkin said it was worth taking time in the morning to clear ice from windows and drive more carefully and slowly.

"If you crash on the way you're going to be a lot later than taking a few extra minutes in the morning,'' he said.

How to prevent sun strike

 Be prepared for sun strike when driving at sunrise or sunset, especially when turning or driving towards the sun.

 Wear sunglasses when driving with the sun in your eyes.

 Use your vehicle's sun visors to block the sun.

 If you experience sun strike, you can pull over and wait a few minutes until your eyes adjust or visibility improves.

 Keep your windscreen clean, inside and out.

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- Manawatu Standard

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