Glare is a risk factor in California motorcycle accidents, perhaps causing or contributing to more accidents than is currently recognized. After a series of motorcycle accidents in California in which law enforcement authorities cited visibility as a factor in the crash, it seems possible that glare may be a more significant risk than previously thought. Even though the Hurt Study clearly identified glare as a factor in motorcycle crashes, little investigation has been done to discover the full implications of glare.
In 2008, a Folsom motorcyclist from El Dorado Hills suffered fatal injuries after sunlight glare caused the driver to strike the center median and lose control of her bike. She was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering severe head trauma.
Even though glare can make it difficult for any California motorcyclist to see, it may affect elderly motorcyclists and motorists more severely than younger drivers. According to a recent article in Technology for Future, elderly drivers may have significant difficulty seeing in the glare of the sunlight—causing serious and often fatal California motorcycling accidents.
What is glare?
Glare has been defined as difficulty in seeing in the presence of bright light. Usually, the glare results in one of three ways—
Sunlight glare as the sun sets on the horizon
Reflected glare from snow, ice or shiny surfaces
Each of these sources of glare creates its own particular hazard, and each may be reduced, or at least addressed, through a variety of methods.
Sunlight—when the sun is low on the horizon and a motorcyclist is traveling toward it, there is a danger that the rider may be temporarily blinded and fail to notice obstacles in the roadway ahead; slowed or stopped vehicles ahead seem to be the leading cause of accidents when sunlight causes glare. To reduce the risk from sunlight glare, California motorcyclists should avoid riding toward a sunset, especially in heavy traffic and during rush hours.
Reflected glare from snow or ice—when riding near surfaces covered with snow or ice, especially in a melting condition, California motorcyclists should choose to wear snow-goggles or other anti-glare eyewear in order to combat this type of glare.
Headlight glare—another source of dangerous glare comes in the form of the headlights of CA motorists in the opposing lanes of traffic. Headlight glare can be especially dangerous at dawn and dusk, when there is only a small amount of natural lighting instead of none. High-powered headlights such as the halogen and xenon types tend to cause the most glare. Motorcyclists facing headlight glare should avoid looking directly into the oncoming light and instead should keep their eyes focused on the roadway ahead.
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