• Sunglasses for Driving

    Sunglasses

    Many people who are involved in road traffic collisions often blame being dazzled by low lying sun and glare from bright light as being the cause.

    This is because the bright sun light can reflect off the road surface, off vehicles in front, off your own bonnet and when the sun is behind can reflect off your own mirrors. To help reduce the risks from the sun there are many different types of sunglasses available so choosing the correct sunglasses will reduce the glare and reduce your chances of being involved in a collision.

    When buying sunglasses, it is vital that you buy a pair that are suitable for driving as not all sunglasses are. Tinted lenses are graded by the density of the tint and all sunglasses should, by law, be labelled and show the filter category number. Filter category 4 lenses which only transmit between 3% and 8% of light are not suitable for driving at any time and should, by law, be labelled 'Not suitable for driving and road use'.

    Class 0 80%-100% (clear) Indoor and overcast No limitations

    Class 1 43%-80% (light tint) low sunlight not for night driving

    Class 2 18%-43% (medium tint) medium sunlight not for night driving

    Class 3 8%-18% (dark) bright sunlight not for night driving

    Class 4 3%-8% (very dark) exceptionally bright sunlight not for day or night driving

    All sunglasses should carry the CE mark and meet the European Standard BS EN 1836:2005.

    Sunglasses fall into two main areas. Fixed or variable tint and both can be made to prescription by your optician if you wear corrective lenses for driving.

    Fixed Tint glasses

    Despite the light conditions these remain in the same level of darkness irrespective of the light conditions. Polaroid glasses are usually fixed tint and their properties reduce glare which is beneficial on wet roads.

    If you wear corrective glasses your optician can make you up a pair of prescription sunglasses to use in the car.

    To make it easier to see the controls within the car, some drivers like to use a graduated tint with the top part of the lens being dark and the bottom part of the lens being lighter.

    Variable tint lenses

    Generally known as photochromic or reactor light. These lenses become darker when exposed to UV light but will clear when there is a reduction in UV light. As car windscreens filter out UV light, this both slows and limits the reaction of the lenses and could cause a driver problems when driving as the lenses could be too dark or too light.

    Several glasses manufacturers however, produce lenses designed for driving that will adapt to the varying light conditions. Check with your optician as these can also be made to your prescription.

    Sunglasses with thick side arms are not recommended for driving in as these can block side, or peripheral vision.

    A good quality anti-reflection coating is recommended, along with a hard coating to protect the lenses from scratches.

    Summary

    • Remember it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure they have good vision and that it is recommended a thorough eye examination should be carried out every two years. Driving with impaired vision will result in prosecution and will more than likely invalidate your car insurance if you were to be involved in a road traffic collision.

    • Discuss with your optician the various options for sun and glare protection for when driving and consider a specialist driving lens or tint

    • Always keep a spare pair of driving sunglasses in the car

    • Be aware that your everyday sunglasses might not be suitable for driving

    As there is some confusion though about what sort of sunglasses are suitable for driving, some research was carried out http://www.selectspecs.com/info/how-to-choose-safe-sunglasses-for-driving/#drivingsun

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