Picking the right pair of sunglasses is important. For many, it is all about the look and the color. Style is important. So too is function. What will you be using the sunglasses for? Fishing? Playing golf? Riding a bicycle? Driving a car? If you are getting sunglasses for driving in the UK, be careful. Getting the wrong pair in Great Britain can cost you.
I recently read an article ( and then did a bit more research) that states in Great Britain you can be fined for wearing sunglasses and not wearing sunglasses. That’s correct. There are two different driving laws that the violation of can cost you a lot of money.
Rule 237 of the Highway Code which stipulates that if bright sunlight is making it difficult to see the road and other road users you must slow down or pull over. Therefore, if you are not wearing sunglasses, you could be prosecuted for driving without due care and receive a careless driving citation. The offense means an on-the-spot fine of £100 and up to three penalty points on your license – or you could go to court and face up to £2,500 in a fine and nine points.
On the flip side, if you are pulled over wearing Category 4 sunglasses while driving at any time, you could face the same 9 points and £2,500 fine. Category 4 sunglasses are sunglasses that only allow 3%-8% light transmission, making them useful for ice climbing, not driving.
In Europe, sunglasses fall under 5 categories.
- Category 0 – 80%-100% transmission – for fashion, indoor use, or cloudy days
- Category 1 – 43%-80% transmission – low sun exposure
- Category 2 – 18%-43% transmission – medium sun exposure
- Category 3 – 8%-18% transmission – strong brightness, light reflected of water or snow
- Category 4 – 3%-8% transmission – intense sunshine for high mountains, glaciers; not for use when driving or on the road.
Sunglasses are not only a fashion statement but a must-have for drivers anywhere. There is very little that troubles me more than sharing a commute with people who refuse to wear sunglasses and therefore make driving dangerous for everyone around them.
So, in the words of the Grail Night in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “Choose Wisely”