Sometimes, during Winter, the sun can get really low in the sky. Low enough that putting my visor down in my car doesn't block it. Is there any way to drive safely in these conditions?

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    This isn't an answer, but it's an invention I thought up 20+ years ago. Inside the car, there's a camera that pinpoints where the driver's eyes are. Outside the car, there's another camera that pinpoints the sun. A simple program determines where on the windshield a darkened (partially-transparent) oval should be positioned to exactly shade the driver's eyes from direct sunlight. The darkened oval could be LCD, maybe? It would move around based on the position of the driver's head, the direction of the car, the height of the sun. Jan 13, 2016 at 21:19
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    @BrettFromLA you beat me to it, I thought of this idea about 5 years ago, but my version uses sunglasses with an LCD spot instead.
    – Lefty
    Jan 15, 2016 at 21:08
  • Oo, that's simple! Might get a little bulky / heavy with the power source, 3 cameras (one forward facing and one for each eye), and the processor. Jan 16, 2016 at 0:07
  • @Lefty I thought of this seven years ago, but my version replaces the entire windshield with a tv.
    – Carl
    Jan 17, 2016 at 18:26
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    @BrettFromLA I suppose that image recognition is probably the way to go now, but my idea was to use GPS data to give the location and orientation of the car and also the time. You can then calculate the position of the sun in the sky. The sunglasses could be similar to 3d TV glasses, controlled by Bluetooth from the processor.
    – Lefty
    Jan 17, 2016 at 23:35

3 Answers 3


The most important factor with very low sun angles is to make sure the windshield is very clean, both outside (easy) and inside. Cleaning the inside with glass cleaner and paper towels will remove a surprising amount of film that, if left on the glass, will scatter light, obscuring background objects (like the ones you're trying not to collide with) when strongly backlit.

The same applies to glasses or sunglasses you might wear; the dirtier the lenses are, the more the sunlight will glare in your eyes and obscure objects.

In the extreme case, park for ten minutes -- at least in temperate or tropical latitudes, if the sun is so low you can't block it at all without blocking everything, it'll be gone in that amount of time.

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    "Gone in 10 minutes" - depends how close to the equator you are. Above the arctic circle, the sun can be on the horizon for months!
    – fredley
    Jan 13, 2016 at 12:48
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    True, but traffic isn't a big problem that far north. However, your point is valid for locations like St. Petersburg, Oslo, Helsinki, etc., where the sun can stay that low for hours at a time in summer and winter (on different parts of the horizon). Answer amended.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jan 13, 2016 at 14:23
  • If you have to be heading directly into the sun I think waiting it out (go have a coffee and get some gas/petrol) is about the only method that works. Jan 17, 2016 at 22:07
  • @ZeissIkon Your edit doesn't cover it. St Petersburg, Oslo and Helsinki are in "temperate latitudes", since they're all south of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, which has a temperate maritime climate.
    – Mike Scott
    Jan 18, 2016 at 11:49

I use 3 methods (in decreasing order of preferability and safety):

  1. Sunglasses. Preferably polarized ones, these reduce the sun's glare without making everything else too dark.
  2. A baseball cap: I can usually angle it to block out the sun without blocking too much else. Works reasonably well for highway driving, not so much in city traffic (you have to adjust every time you change direction).
  3. if all else fails, I hold up my hand to block the sun. Not as safe and you can't do this long, but better some vision than none at all.
  • I'm iffy about methods 2 and 3
    – Just Do It
    Jan 13, 2016 at 15:17
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    #1 Works really good if you happen to have polarized sunglasses, such as the drugstore "old guy wraparounds" that I'm old enough to wear ;-)
    – Chris O
    Jan 13, 2016 at 15:37

Personally, I find that my brow protrudes just enough that I can turn my face downwards then raise my eyes to see the road ahead with the sun blocked by my brow bone. Most people I suggest this to say it doesn't work though, so maybe I have a little more Neanderthal DNA than most.

Sunglasses always seem to make it worse in my experience.

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