Are your driving sunglasses illegal?

posted in: General News, Top Tips

And if you take them off, could that land you with an even bigger fine?

Sunglasses on Car Dashboard

The recent sunny weather has seen most of us reaching for the sunglasses the moment we get into the car. But did you know that not all sunglasses are suitable for driving? And just to confuse matters further, did you also know that driving without sunglasses could leave you with a fine and penalty points too? We try to unpick a complicated issue…

The wrong glasses?
Sunglasses used whilst driving our rental vans or cars (and every other vehicle) should aid clarity of vision. Surprisingly, not all sunglasses will do that.

There are several categories of sunglasses and each category filters a different degree of light. Most sunglasses are category 2 which, according to i news, means they’ll filter between 18 and 43% of light. Generally, these glasses are suitable for driving (although see below).

Category 4 sunglasses, however, transmit only 3-8% of light. According to the AA, these are “not suitable for driving at any time. Sunglasses with these lenses should, by law, be labelled ‘Not suitable for driving and road use.”

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Beware the tint
Variable tints change the density of tint depending on the light, but some sunglasses react only to UV light. That poses a problem for drivers, because windscreens filter out most UV. That means the sunglasses won’t react effectively enough for driving.

Coloured tints can also be problematic, as they can change the way you perceive colour (which could be a problem, for example, at traffic lights, or when recognising emergency vehicles).

Beware not wearing sunglasses at all
To make things even more complex, going without sunglasses can also leave you at risk of a £2,500 fine and 9 penalty points. As The Sun reported, putting yourself at risk of glare could leave you open to charges of driving without due care and attention because Rule 237 of the Highway Code says “drivers need to slow down or pull over if they are ‘dazzled by bright sunlight’”.

So if you’re hiring a car or van from us this summer:

  • Do wear sunglasses if it’s sunny
  • Do ensure you have category 2 lenses
  • Don’t use coloured tints and be careful with variables

Now, if you’d like to hire a car or van from TJS, get in touch now.