Tips for Driving Into the Sun

Some advice on how to stare down glare when driving on sunny days.

Two people in a car driving into the sunGetty Images


Driving into a sunrise or sunset might sound romantic. But with the sun low on the horizon, glare streaming through your vehicle's windshield can make it difficult to see the road. Fortunately, there are several things drivers can do to help deal with bright sun and stay safe behind the wheel.

A Sun Visor Is Your First Line of Defense

Most vehicles on the market have a sun visor attached where the windshield meets the roof. Flipping this visor down can go a long way toward blocking glare from the sun while driving — but it's not always a perfect solution.

While some visors can extend their length and be rotated to block light coming in at awkward angles, there are situations where the vehicle's original visor can't be positioned for optimal shade. In this case, it could be worth turning to an aftermarket sun visor that clips over the factory unit and provides more square inches of light blocking.

These specialty sun visors can be particularly helpful in dealing with light streaming through the middle of the windshield, but you'll want to avoid blocking your rearview mirror when using them. Some third-party sun visors even come with a polarized lens that drops in front of your eyes to diminish the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Another easy way to block out the sun while driving is to wear a hat. The brim of a good-fitting cap can provide considerable assistance in blocking light coming in from above, and in many cases the hat pairs well with a sun visor to help you see the road ahead.

Keep Your Sunglasses Nearby

Polarized sunglasses are probably the most versatile bring-it-with-you solution when driving on sunny days. Wear them when the sun is out and take them off when it's no longer an issue.

The low cost of many sunglasses also means purchasing a dedicated pair you can leave in your car is a good idea. Many vehicles come with storage compartments designed specifically for sunglasses, which will help protect them against scratches and other damage.

A Clean Windshield Reduces Glare

Being hit right in the eyes by the sun while driving is already an impediment to visibility on the road. Having that same light refracted through a dirty windshield can make things worse, as UV rays highlight dirt, dead bugs, road salt, and accumulated grime. These conditions can make it more challenging to see through the glass on a very bright day, so cleaning the windshield to remove dirt and streaks will greatly improve visibility.

At the same time, consider the impact of a pitted windshield when driving into the sun. Those thousands of tiny scratches and pin pricks caused by the daily blast of sand and grit while driving can aggravate glare. If you have cleaned your windshield but still have difficulty seeing through the pits in the sun, it might be time to consider a replacement.

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Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting is a writer and podcast host who contributes to a number of newspapers, automotive magazines, and online publications. More than a decade into his career, he enjoys keeping the shiny side up during track days and always has one too many classic vehicle projects partially disassembled in his garage at any given time. Remember, if it's not leaking, it's probably empty.