NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (NBC 26) — In the past week, three fatal car crashes have occurred because of the glare of the sun.
“Well, they’re pretty prevalent at the time of the year when the sun becomes lower in the sky,” said Jeffrey Houts, owner of Cruisin Safely Motorcycle & Driving Instruction. “Just be aware of that, it is a dangerous thing.”
At this time of year, the sun is rising and bright at the time many people are driving to work.
NBC 26 meteorologist, Gino Recchia, explained why.
“So, as you know we have different seasons here in Wisconsin and it all has to do with how the earth rotates around the sun and also how it tilts. As the earth is tilting from one side to the other, the sun is rising at different angles on a compass heading. So, if you’re going straight east. During a period of September into early October, you’re going to get that sun rising right straight east,” said Recchia.
This has become more of an issue lately.
“It seems within the last few weeks that the sun's intensity has been very significant during the morning commute, which likely has been a contributing factor for some of these crashes,” said Lieutenant Eric Voland, Calumet County Sheriff’s Office.
At around 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 27, a Neenah woman was killed in a crash involving her and a dump truck in Calumet County.
On Sept. 22 at about 7 a.m., there was a fatal vehicle versus bicycle accident.
Also, on the 22nd in Manitowoc County was a car crash at dusk that killed a St. Nazianz man.
Officials noted the brightness of the sun as a factor in all three crashes. According to a lieutenant at the Calumet County Sheriff’s Office, the severity of these accidents isn’t the norm.
“Seems to be the exception more than the norm,” said Lieutenant Voland.
There are ways that drivers can prepare for the glare.
“If you’re headed east in the morning on the way to work, be aware that’s going to be blinding you,” said Houts.
The biggest safety tip given by Houts: pull down your visor.
“Keep more following distance, keep your speed low, keep your visor down when you’re cresting hills or turning corners and you know the sun is going to be in your eyes,” said Houts.
Luckily, according to Recchia, “It’s not a yearly thing that we have to deal with. Right now, it’s just that time of the year."
It is noted that in late October, drivers will be in the clear of the glaring sun.