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Why is the sun so blinding in the winter when driving?

Have you ever felt blinded by the sun driving in the winter time? How about the day after it snows? That glare can be a bitch and actually can temporally blind you if you're not careful. So what causes that glare to be so much stronger in the winter? Can sunglasses help you in the winter months?

Well, for starters we can blame the sun for being position lower in the sky as we enter the winter solstice. Second we can blame albedo, the proportion of the incident light or radiation that is reflected by a surface. So when a light hits the surface, it will also reflect the light at a lower angle hence creating a stronger albedo. So basically, it's easier to reflect on surfaces like roads, snow, or even other cars. Everyone has experienced forgetting their sunglasses and getting eye sun burn. What is eye sun burn? A painful condition that lasts up to a week and includes extreme sensitivity to light and a feeling of sand in the eyes. It seems like common knowledge, but it's estimated that 9,000 car accidents a year are caused a driver being temporally blinded by the sun.

We have a few tips to help you out:

First is make sure your windshield is clean.

Second is to keep the windshield wiper fluid full in your car, and keep a jug of it in your trunk. 

Third is to always have a pair of polarized sunglasses in your car and jacket! This is the most important tip because polarized lenses have a special filter that blocks intense reflected light, reducing glare and enhancing visual clarity. Polarized lenses are most commonly used to reduce the glare reflecting off flat surfaces, such as water, sand or a field of snow. 

Well there you have it! Protect your eyes and stay warm this winter!


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