Let the sunshine in – but be careful

At Bumps & Scuffs we believe we know quite a lot about motor cars and not just restricted to restoring them to their pre-bump/bashed state. Come in and test Craig’s knowledge of almost anything to do with cars – I am sure you will be impressed.

However, I have inadvertently become a bit of an expert on something completely different – sunglasses!

We recently had two customers who swore blind (Hmmm) that the cause of their accident was due to the fact that they had been dazzled by the sun.

We asked which country they had been visiting but they assured us that it was, in fact, in Surrey (or was it Hampshire?).

Until then it been a quiet day and Craig was able to get on with some uninterrupted repairs. However, intrigued by this dazzling experience we conducted a bit of research.

The first thing we found was that the Department for Transport (DfT) data listed dazzling sun 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.

With a relative heatwave being predicted for the bank holiday weekend it’s important that drivers should wear appropriate eyewear to protect themselves against glare and keep themselves and other road users safe.

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 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, according to Rule 237 of the Highway Code, is for drivers to slow down or pull over if they become “dazzled by bright sunlight.”

This means that, although it’s 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.

And now, turning our attention to the sunglasses themselves: did you know that there are various categories of sunglasses? 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.

I am not sure whether or not UK sunglasses are labelled with a category, bit avoid category four glasses as they should be marked as ‘not suitable for driving and road use.’

We would be interested to hear your views on this topic especially from those who live within our primary customer area. We serve a fairly wide area from Farnham including Tilford, Frensham, Churt, Headley, Headley Down, Lindford, Bordon, Kingsely, Alton, Crondall, Church Crookham, Fleet, Aldershot, Farnborough, Camberley.

Enjoy the sunshine but don’t be dazzled!

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