Drivers face the most hated part of autumn driving this month as a setting sun threatens to dazzle them on the way home from work. With sun dazzle a factor in more deaths than rain, sleet, snow and fog in three of the past five years, they have good reason to fear it.
It is little wonder then that 82% of British drivers, peaking at 86% in Scotland, dislike driving in the autumn because of the threat of sun glare.
A survey of 11,333 AA members who commute by car finds that, as they drive home in the evening, 52% frequently encounter cyclists and 49% see pedestrians regularly crossing or travelling along the roads they use.
In the capital, 68% of drivers in the evening rush-hour often encounter cyclists and 64% pedestrians in the road. The risk of regularly coming across cyclists while driving home is lowest in Wales (41%) and lowest for pedestrians in the road in East Anglia (41%).
Londoners say they are least troubled by sun dazzle while driving in the autumn. However, in built-up areas, buildings may block direct sunlight but gaps can create sudden dazzle while west to east roads can leave drivers locked into facing sun glare for quite some time.
Autumn is also made more dangerous as joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and others go out during the rush-hour to exercise while there is still sunlight. More than one in 10 car commuters come across joggers on the way home.
Across the UK, in 2015, there were 2,575 road accidents where sun dazzle was a contributory factor. Each year, it is involved in 20-25 fatal accidents and has been more deadly as a cause of road deaths than rain, sleet, snow and fog in three of the past five years
All road users need to be fully aware of the potential twilight dangers,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president. “Joggers, dog walkers, workers returning home on foot and other pedestrians walking with their backs to vehicles are almost twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents.