Drivers have been warned that not wearing sunglasses while behind the wheel could land you with a huge fine.
Summer has arrived and Merseyside will hopefully be basking in sunshine over the next few months. However, a motoring expert has urged drivers to be cautious in the bright conditions.
Andrew Jervis from ClickMechanic said: “Many of us will welcome a few days of sun, but it could spell disaster for unprepared motorists. We all have a responsibility to drive with care and attention, and we need to be on alert for anything that can affect our ability to do that.
“Sun glare is often tricky to drive with as it can affect how we perceive the road conditions, while an unexpected short burst of light from behind a cloud can really harm our ability to see. It can be worse when the roads are wet after a rainy spell, with sunlight reflecting off puddles and into our eyes.
“It’s important to be on guard for the adverse effects of sun glare while driving, whether this is through wearing sunglasses, removing any shiny objects from the dashboard or lowering the sun visors.”
The AA cited glare as one of the main causes of road traffic accidents and state “the right pair of sunglasses can prevent it.” However, deciding which sunglasses to wear is a tricky subject as you can be penalised for the type you wear – and also if you choose to not wear them at all.
It’s not a legal requirement to wear sunglasses in bright conditions, but you could still be considered by police to be “driving without due care and attention” due to Rule 237 of the Highway Code. The “Hot Weather” section of this law states that drivers need to slow down or pull over if they are “dazzled by bright sunlight” – which would indicate that drivers should wear glasses on a sunny day.
This offence would lead to an on the spot fine of £100 and three points on your licence. Drivers who challenge this and lose could see this increased to £5,000 depending on the severity.
The AA consulted with The Federation of Manufacturing Opticians for advice on what sunglasses drivers should wear for driving. Two essential requirements for lenses in driving are that your vision must remain clear and there must be sufficient light to let you see properly must get to your eyes.
The motoring association warned this means you could also be breaking the Highway Code by wearing sunglasses. It added: “Sunglasses sold for general use can be too dark for driving in. Plus, fashion frames could obscure your peripheral vision if they aren’t the right style, so it’s best to choose your shades carefully.
The AA state sun lenses which are suitable for driving fall into 2 main categories: “fixed” and “variable” tint. A fixed tint “stays at the same darkness no matter how sunny or dark it is” and a variable tint “changes their tint density when exposed to certain kinds of light”.
All sunglasses should carry the CE mark and meet the European Standard BS EN 1836:2005.
AA’s top tips for what sunglasses you should wear while driving
– Have a thorough eye examination every two years to find out if you need prescription lenses in your sunglasses
– Discuss the options for sun and glare protection with your optician
– Consider a specialist driving lens or tint
– Be aware that your everyday sunglasses might not be suitable for driving.
– Always keep a spare pair of driving sunglasses in the car.
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