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When too much light - or not enough - can be road danger

Be prepared to avoid being dazzled by glare from low sun - and check your lights


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PA Wire/Press Association Images

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There are a couple of road safety issues to deal with this week.

One is the danger caused by sun glare. It can catch drivers off guard and put them at risk of being temporarily dazzled or blinded by the intensity and brightness of a low sun.

From previous searches of the collision database, the RSA research department found that sun glare could be a factor behind as many as three deaths and approximately five serious injuries each year.

Typically, pedestrians or cyclists are the victims because a driver could not see them.

AT this time of year, the sun sits low in the late morning and early evening.

If you are driving straight into it at these times, you can be completely blinded.

You can get caught out when going around a bend or turning a corner and you are suddenly struck by the intense beam.

The situation can be made worse if your windscreen is greasy or if it has been raining.

Being aware of the danger is a starting point in addressing the problem. The next thing you should do is get a pair of polarised sunglasses.

They will help greatly in reducing the effect of glare.

But you should also clean your windscreen and make sure it's free from dirt both inside and out.

The second road safety problem is the opposite of sun glare.

It is about not enough light from broken headlights.

I was on a drive across the country at night recently and counted that more than seven of the vehicles that passed me in the space of three hours had a broken front headlight.

Our own observational studies suggest that 7pc, or one in every 14 on the road, has a broken light. And they are deadly.

If you are driving with one it could be mistaken for a motorcycle, never mind the fact that your ability to see the road and any hazards will be greatly reduced.

Before you set off on your next journey take a couple of minutes to turn on your lights and check them.

Get someone to help you check that the back brake lights are working.

Make sure they are clean too. They won't be as bright as they should be if covered in a film of grime. If you do find a broken light get it fixed straight away.

Meanwhile, now Brexit is a reality people are asking if it means those who live in Ireland and hold a UK licence no longer need to worry about exchanging it for an Irish one?

I'm afraid not. The reason the RSA was urging people to do this last year and up to the January 31 deadline was because of the danger of the UK crashing out of the EU without an agreement.

The agreement provides for a transitional period in which people living here can continue to exchange their UK driving licence for an Irish one. In effect the agreement just pushes out the deadline to December 31 next.

After that, if there is no agreement on licence exchange, a UK or Northern Ireland licence will be invalid if you live here. So if you live in Ireland and hold a UK or Northern Ireland licence you still need to exchange it for an Irish one. The means of doing so will only be in place until the December 31. Visit ndls.ie if you need to exchange.

Holders of an Irish licence can continue to drive in the UK after Brexit and drivers living in the North holding a UK/NI licence can continue to drive down here on their UK/NI licence.

Indo Motoring