Sun Glare and the Circle Game … 180 Degrees Makes All the Difference!


James R. Schmidt, Jr., BSME, Collision Reconstruction Engineering Analyst

Speed from video, tractor-trailer off-tracking, and sun glare are topics I enjoy writing about the most.  Sun glare is the topic of choice this time around.

Recently, I picked up my morning coffee before heading into the office.  In so doing, the sun was directly behind me as I was going to pick up the coffee, as evidenced by the long shadow cast by my vehicle on the roadway in front of me:

Sun Glare While Driving

With the sun behind me, there were no visibility problems.

But, after picking up my coffee, I turned the car around 180 degrees and the sun was now directly in my face:

Sun Glare While Driving

This presented a serious sun glare situation, as shown on dash cam video.

Simple research of the sun position for that date, time, and location was performed:

Sun Position Chart

A basic plot of that position on an aerial photograph was made, demonstrating that the sun was directly in line with the roadway (i.e.- azimuth of 128.6 degrees):

Google Earth Image

The 8.3 degree altitude of the sun wasn’t, in and of itself, overly low but the uphill grade of the roadway effectively “lowered” the position of the sun, thereby creating a sun glare situation.

Other articles on the topic of sun glare I have authored that might “brighten your day” include:

Sun Glare… What a difference a day makes!

Sunglare … Where?

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Categories: Collision Reconstruction | James R. Schmidt | Sun Glare


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