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Today is national Sunglasses Day, and what great weather we’ve got for it. But do you know if your sunglasses are suitable for safe driving? Trusted Dealers takes a look at the dos and don’ts for driving with your shades on.
Did you know that all sunglasses have an EU standard? The standard is set so that drivers can be made aware of whether the sunglasses they are purchasing have the following traits:
All sunglasses which shows the CE mark should meet the above standards, but they are also graded using five different categories from 0-4 to show how dark the tint is, or more specifically, how much visible light they let through.
Category 0 – a light tint which allows 80% to 100% of visible light through. These sunglasses are fine for driving at any time and are designed for indoor use and cloudy days.
Categories 1 – 3 – these are general purpose sunglasses which have progressively darker tints, shielding against brighter levels of sunshine. This type of sunglass is fine for daytime driving, but should not be worn if driving at dusk or night time.
Category 4 – these are the darkest sunglasses you can buy which let only 3% to 8% of light through them and are designed to withstand a high-glare or very bright sunlight. Similar to ski goggles, this type of sunglass is very dark and should therefore not be used for driving at any time. Category 4 sunglasses must be labelled as unsuitable for driving.
Where is the information located?
Sunglasses on sale in shops such as chemists or opticians should have the label marked with the specific category, which is normally located on the arm of the glasses. However, IAM Roadsmart has reported that having looked through several shopping websites, there are very few sellers that display the tint category or any symbol, which means motorists have no way of telling whether their glasses are suitable for driving until they arrive.
Photochromic glasses are not marked but should be fine for most cars because they respond to UV light to darken. Car windows block UV light so the glasses should stay clear, unless you’re in a convertible. At their darkest, photochromic glasses will only allow 20% of light through which puts them around category 2 or 3. Also, it’s worth noting the glasses will stay dark for quite a while if you drive into a tunnel or underpass.