Sunglasses are great accessories that help safeguard drivers against the sun's glare, ensuring better visibility, and keeping everyone safe.
Over the years, the issue of the negative impact of the sun's glare, which has been fingered as a possible cause of many road accidents. has ignited a healthy debate among road safety personnel on how to go about managing the issues posed by it. Consequently, the use of the of sunglasses has been identified as a solid solution to the issues raised.
So the sunglasses as the name goes, are worn to mitigate the disturbing and sometimes damaging effect of glare from the sun. These days is not uncommon to find drivers cruising around in their cars with stylish sunglasses. So the big question you may ask is: Can I wear sunglasses while driving? If yes, what specification of sunglasses are permitted, and in what weather conditions are sunglasses allowed?
Make sure you wear the right kind of polarized sunglasses while driving.
1. Sunglasses and driving law
While it is not a requirement to add sunglasses as part of the accessories needed for driving, the absence of one, in some cases can lead to a violation of traffic law. So let's check out issues relating to sunglasses and driving law.
On some days where the sun's bright light blurs a driver's vision and thus he/she cannot see the road ahead clearly, road safety and VIO officers will usually expect that the driver pulls over. Failure to pull over coupled with the absence of appropriate sunglasses, the driver can be charged for careless driving, an act punishable by Nigerian traffic law, and your driver's license may be seized.
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Even though there is no clear legislation on the recommended class of sunglasses in Nigeria, some other countries make it illegal for a driver to use sunglasses which are below category 3 classification.
This is so because such sunglasses will only succeed at filtering just 8 or less than 8% of light. (check out table 1.1). In some lands it is lawfully demanded that sunglasses be fully labeled, clearly showing the category number.
Sunglasses when driving in the night
Is it illegal to wear sunglasses while driving at night? When it comes to night driving, there also are no clear cut laws that define its usage. However, it is not recommended that a driver uses one when driving in the night, as it is important that vision stays cloudless and infringed at all times especially in the night when clear vision is impeded. Moreover, it is called sunglasses, so using it when it's already dark with no sun rays in-sight makes no real sense.
However, if a driver decides to use any other kind of eyeglass at night, glasses with light transmission below 75% should be avoided. (see the table below). Some special night vision glasses and other specific night driving glasses can be used but please consult your doctor first.
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2. Suitable sunglasses for driving
As a result of the numerous types of sunglasses around us, a perplexing question comes up, what type of sunglasses are suitable for driving? Coming to the rescue, the federation of manufacturing opticians have labeled two requirements as essential and necessary in glasses are to be used for and when driving.
- Vision has to be clear
- Adequate light enabling sight must get to your eyes
However, most sunglasses sold over the counter and those most commonly used especially by the younger drivers use do not meet these requirements. This is so because most of these stylish sunglasses usually obstruct peripheral vision, hence aren't suitable for driving.
Anti-glare glasses work against the dangerous glare from sunlight
3. Classes of sunglasses
Sunglasses are split into categories based on the amount of light they can filter out. Below is a table showing the categories of sunglasses showing when/when not to use the different categories while driving.
|80% - 100% (Clear vision)||0||Overcast weather||None|
|43%-80% (light tint)||1||Very low sunlight||Not suitable for night driving|
|18%-43% (medium tint)||2||Moderate sunlight||Not suitable for night driving|
|8%-18% (dark)||3||Bright sunlight||Not suitable for night driving|
|3%-8% (very dark)||4||Extremely bright sunlight||Not suitable for both night and day driving|
3.1 Classification based on tint
Tints are essential parts of sunglasses, they are added to aid the absorption of light or the amount of light transmitted. Sunglasses could be classified under two groups based on their tints:
- Variable tint
Also known as photochromic glasses, these types of sunglasses can change their tint density when exposed to certain types of light. The more intense the light radiation, the darker the glasses become. As a result of this feature, the variable tint sunglasses are not advisable to be used while driving.
- Fixed tint
Sunglasses who fall into this category, have the same kind of darkness(tint density) which is independent of any type of radiation. The fixed tint sunglasses are the most common and easiest to find, they are particularly effective with the sun's glare, hence recommended for use while driving. You must consult an optician before choosing which sunglass to use while driving.
4. Tips to remember when opting for sunglasses
- Category number should be known before use while driving.
- Glasses with light transmission below 75% should be avoided for night driving.
- Glasses with light transmission below 8% should be avoided while driving both at night and in the daytime.
- Sunglasses should be able to fit properly and cover eyes from all angles.
- Glasses that massively alter the color of objects must be avoided.
5. Benefits of using sunglasses while driving
Improves visual comfort
Sunglasses give the eyes increased comfort, especially when faced with intense sunlight. It drastically reduces the amount of glare reaching the eyes, thus seeing accurately is assured even with the intense light. Check out some benefits of sunglasses while driving below
Higher vision clarity
Sunglasses bestow you with the ability to see objects with an exceptional color contrast. Its ability to enhance and improve color perception improves the clarity of objects. The eyes are being aided to pick out objects, thus giving one a higher degree of vision. So should you wear sunglasses when driving in the rain, what do you think?
Sunglasses can protect your eye from dangerous solar radiations
Reduction in eye fatigue
Without sunglasses, one has to cover the eyes partially(squinting) in response to being faced with direct sunlight. This necessary action when done regularly tends to build a kind muscle fatigue around the eyes, which in some cases leads to headaches. The use of a sunglass erases any cause for squinting, thereby keeping the eyes comfortable, relieved and relaxed.
Sunglasses are essential accessories every driver must have in his/her. On some days when the sun is shining bright, your car's interior sun visor may not just be enough, in such situations, your sunglasses will come in handy as an additional layer of protection against the suns glare. So the next time you see a driver wear his/her sunglasses on the road, we will be better informed to know it may not be just for the fashion but shows how law-abiding and safety-conscious that driver possibly is. So why not go get yours !!!
Before we go, why not check out the following video for the best of driving sunglasses:
9 Best Sunglasses For Driving 2019
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