As the UK basks in some late summer sun many of us will be getting behind the wheel with a pair of sunglasses close to hand. However, as the nights begin to draw in, and autumn months see the sun drop lower in the sky, most people are unaware that the wrong tint in your sunglasses can land you in hot water.
Whilst it is not a legal requirement to wear sunglasses, motorists must take proactive measures to ensure that the sun does not distract them whilst driving.
During a heatwave more motorists are likely to be wearing sunglasses, but the guidance on appropriate sunglass tint may not be widely known. It is not explicitly outlined, and it is most likely to be covered under sentencing guidelines regarding driving without due care and attention.
Rule 237 of the Highway Code outlines that if you are dazzled by bright sunlight, you should slow down and if necessary, stop. However, Rule 97 of the Highway Code outlines that at night or in poor visibility, motorists should not use tinted glasses, lenses, or visors if they restrict vision. Therefore, different rules apply according to the time of day.
Whilst motorists must take steps to ensure they are not dazzled; they must also ensure that the tint is not too high a percentage to then fall foul of the rules of driving without due care and attention.
Opticians should be able to advise on the correct percentage of tint for driving. Driving without due care and attention carries a fixed penalty of £100 and 3 penalty points. However, if the fixed penalty is challenged, and it goes to court they could face 3-9 points and an unlimited fine.