POL/CWU – Driving Safely in Bright Sunlight and Sun Glare Conditions – Driver and Road Safety Campaign:
The UK’s major motoring organisations, the AA and RAC along with a number of road safety analysts have urged drivers to take care in the present bright sunny conditions and to be very aware of the effects of ‘sun glare’.
The experts warn that it’s important for drivers to be on guard for the adverse effects of ‘sun glare’ while driving, whether this is through wearing sunglasses with UV protection which can protect drivers from extreme brightness whilst driving on bright sunny days or by removing any shiny objects from the dashboard or lowering the sun visors.
According to the AA, sun glare was one of the main causes of road traffic accidents and they advise that “the right pair of sunglasses can help prevent the risk of accidents by allowing drivers to focus on the road better as they get to their destination.” They advise that drivers have a responsibility to drive with care and attention, and need to be on alert for anything that can affect their ability to do that.
The RAC advise that drivers who don’t wear suitable sunglasses to protect against the dazzling effects of the sun may be inadvertently putting the safety of all roads users at risk.
As the UK summer heats up, it’s now even more important that drivers should wear appropriate eyewear to protect themselves against glare and keep themselves and other road users safe.
Road Traffic Accidents:
The Department for Transport report that bright, dazzling sunlight is as a contributory factor in around 3,000 road accidents a year, some fatal.
Driving Without Due Care and Attention Consequences:
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 that a driver is driving without due care and attention they can be faced with an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points on their driving licence. In particularly serious cases, police have the power to take the matter to court, where a fine could rise to £5,000.
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, a driver could be breaking the law if they don’t slow down or stop if they have become temporarily blinded by the sun.
Choosing The Right Sunglasses:
When it comes to choosing sunglasses it’s essential the right pair are chosen, as some are too dark and can severely hamper 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.’
Additional Eye Health Advice:
Additionally, eye specialists advise that exposing the eyes to bright sunlight for too long, risks developing sun-related eye diseases. Cataracts, pterygium, glaucoma, and macular degeneration can start inflicting damage in the eyes if a person is not wearing the right sunglasses. Skin cancer can also develop because the skin around your eyes gets exposed to the hot sun as well. Clinical evidence shows that about 10 percent of diagnosed skin cancers occur next to the eyes.
RAC and AA Top Tips:
- Have a thorough eye examination every two years.
- Discuss the options for sun and glare protection with an optician.
- Consider a specialist driving lens or tint.
- Be aware that everyday sunglasses might not be suitable for driving.
- Always keep a spare pair of driving sunglasses in the vehicle.
- Keep the vehicle windscreen clean – including the inside.
- Remove reflective or shinny items and materials from the dashboard.
- If blinded by the sun, slow down immediately.
- If driving at sunset, anticipate the effects of glare on you and other drivers.
Joint POL/CWU Driver Safety Awareness Campaign:
A joint POL/CWU Driver Safety Awareness Campaign has today been launched through the attached communication to all POL CVIT Supply Chain Depots for cascading to fleet drivers and will be circulated to all other drivers as part of the awareness raising initiative so as to highlight the ‘Sun Glare Dazzle Danger’.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer