As the UK summer heats up, Police have warned drivers to use appropriate eyewear when driving to protect themselves against glare and keep themselves and other road users safe or they could face consequences.
Drivers who don’t wear sunglasses to protect against the dazzling effects of the sun may be inadvertently putting the safety of all roads users at risk, warns the RAC.
The consequences of not driving safely due to being blinded by the sun, whether that’s as a result of not wearing sunglasses, not using a vehicle’s sun visor or not slowing down or pulling over, are quite severe: if a police officer deems you to be driving without due care and attention you would be faced with an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence.
The advice is, according to Rule 237 of the Highway Code, for drivers to slow down or pull over if they become “dazzled by bright sunlight.”
This means that - althoughit is not a legal requirement to drive wearing sunglasses in bright conditions - you could be breaking the law if you don’t slow down or stop if you become temporarily blinded by the sun.
And in particularly serious cases, police have the power to take the matter to court, where a fine could rise to £5,000.
Road accident data reveals the dangers of not wearing shades at the wheel
Department for Transport (DfT) data showing contributory factors in reported road accidents reveals just how many collisions are caused by bright, dazzling sunlight.
It was, in fact, listed as a contributory factor in 2,324 accidents in 2017 – that's over six accidents every day of the year. Dazzling sun was even reported as a factor in 25 fatal accidents.
When you're choosing sunglasses it’s essential you pick the right pair, as some could severely hamper your driving.
For example, category four (4) sunglasses are illegal to wear when driving as they let less than 8% of light through the lenses, while variable tint lenses should also be avoided behind the wheel.
UK sunglasses should be labelled with a category, so avoid category four glasses that should also be marked as ‘not suitable for driving and road use', but unfortunately, they aren't.
For more information on summer driving trips – including how to avoid a summer breakdown – read the RAC's guide to staying safe in the sunshine.