A new survey has found that 53% of those questioned wore standard sunglasses for driving – even though they would normally wear prescription glasses.
The survey of 1,000 motorists was commissioned by GetLenses and highlights a dangerous shortcut many drivers are taking to avoid the hassle and cost of owning prescription sunglasses for driving.
It is important to remember that if you need glasses or contact lenses to pass the eyesight element of the driving test, then you are required to wear them whenever you drive. Driving with uncorrected vision is an offence if you cannot pass the eyesight test.
The law requires drivers to be able to read a licence plate from 20m away (or 20.5m for old-style plates) and if you cannot do this, you must wear glasses or contact lenses at all times when driving. It may seem as if driving without your glasses is not a big risk, but you will be unable to read signs or see the detail of objects you are approaching until you are much closer than usual, giving you much less time to react than you are used to having. This is dangerous – rushed, last minute reactions are often the cause of collisions.
Sunny weather can make driving difficult – especially in winter, when the sun is very low. When this happens, you have three choices if you want to stay safe and legal:
- Clip-on sunglasses over your regular glasses – these may be naff and old-fashioned, but they are a cheap and cheerful way of solving the problem for occasional use;
- Prescription sunglasses – your eyesight will be just as good as with your regular glasses, with the added bonus of reduced glare. In my experience, a light grey tint is good because it removes the glare without making it too dark. Very dark tinted glasses can make it hard to see when you pass into dark areas, under bridges or into tunnels;
- Wear regular sunglasses over contact lenses. If you don’t normally wear contact lenses, you can get daily disposable lenses that are suitable for occasional use – when you are planning a long journey and need to wear sunglasses, for example.
Whatever you choose, don’t choose style over safety.