The Bay of Plenty is one of the most dangerous regions in the country for encountering sun-strike when driving, according to the Automobile Association.
Police warn sunstrike can occur during any time of the day.
AA statistics show 158 crashes occurred in the region from 2008-2012 where sun-strike was reportedly a factor. The crashes resulted in one death, 12 serious injuries and 49 minor injuries to people.
Tauranga and Mount Maunganui reported the most crashes factoring sun-strike within the region (70) with Girven Rd, Hewletts Rd and Papamoa Beach Rd particular black spots.
Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion is surprised with the results.
“Perhaps it is because we have the highest sunshine hours in the country. Sun-strike can occur at any time during the day, but is most likely during sunrise or sunset, when the sun’s rays hit your windscreen at a low angle.”
Ian says to avoid crashing due to sun-strike people need to be prepared when driving at sunrise or sunset, especially towards the sun.
Sun-strike is more likely to occur during winter because the sun is lower in the sky.
“People should also keep their windscreens clean, inside and out. Dust and grime on the windscreen can make the effects of sun-strike worse.
“If you experience sun-strike and can’t see clearly, pull over and stop until conditions improve. If you experience sun-strike when pulling out of an intersection take extreme care and do not proceed until you are certain the way it clear.”
The AA statistics show the Bay of Plenty had more sun-strike-related crashes on a per capita basis than in Auckland, the Waikato, Wellington or Canterbury.