Can wearing sunglasses while driving really land you a fine?
In this article we outline the truth to the mythical question of “Can wearing sunglasses while driving really land you a fine?”
It isn’t a common fact but wearing the wrong type of sunglasses while driving is illegal, and conversely you can also be fined for NOT wearing them at all.
Blinding glare caused by a low sun, or by bright light reflecting off snow, puddles, the car in front, or even your own bonnet can be potentially lethal, particularly when driving at speed.
Glare, as a result, is frequently cited as the cause of road traffic accidents, but the right pair of sunglasses can prevent it.
Rule 237 of the Highway Code states that drivers must slow down or pull over if dazzled by bright sunlight. If drivers ignore the blatant risk to other road users, they run the risk of being convicted of careless driving, which could result in an on-the-spot fine of £100 and up to three penalty points or in more serious cases a £2500 and 9 penalty points.
To avoid such sanctions, it is important that road users wear the appropriate sunglasses but understand that it is illegal to wear certain types of sunglasses while driving dependent on their strength.
Sunglasses are divided into four categories which depends on how much light they filter out. Most sunglasses will be category two – meaning they filter between 18-43% of light and are suitable for driving.
However, if you have category four sunglasses, which let less than 8% of light through, they are deemed illegal when driving.
UK legislation stipulates that sunglasses must be labelled and show the filter category number. They should also carry the CE mark and meet the European Standard BS EN 1836:2005.
Adding her insight, Lesley Cree commented “It is so important that road users understand how to avoid being blinded by glare, which if ignored can result in a fatal road traffic accident. For driving polarised lenses are recommended, which block glare, sunlight and UV light. I wear Maui Jim sunglasses which all have top of the range lenses which are particularly good for driving.”
If you are concerned about your eyesight when driving or want to check that your sunglasses comply to the relevant standards, please visit our practice for more information.