Road accident data reveals the dangers of not wearing shades at the wheel

Thanks to dazzling sunlight, drivers could be putting the safety of all road users at risk by not wearing sunglasses behind the wheel.

Department for Transport (DfT) data showing contributory factors for reported road accidents reveals just how many accidents the dazzle caused by bright sunlight causes.

It was listed as the contributory factor in 2,324 accidents in 2017 – that’s over 6 accidents every day of the year. The dazzling sun was even reported as a factor in 25 fatal accidents.

As the UK summer heats up, it’s now even more important that motorists should wear appropriate eyewear to protect themselves against glare and keep all road users safe.

It’s not just your safety that you risk by not wearing shades; failure to do so could see you hit with an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points should police deem you to be driving without due care and attention.

Rule 237 of the Highway Code states that drivers should slow down or pull over if they become “dazzled by bright sunlight.”

This means that, although it’s not a legal requirement to drive in your shades, 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.

When it comes to choosing sunglasses it’s essential you pick the right pair, as some could severely hamper your driving.

For example, category four 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.’

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