A driver with sunglasses on - a common sight in Spain, but choose your glasses wisely. Raúl Haba
Spain's DGT warning to drivers: these are the sunglasses that should never be worn at the wheel

Spain's DGT warning to drivers: these are the sunglasses that should never be worn at the wheel

The Directorate-General for Traffic roads authority as offered the guidance and explained the reasons why in its online road safety magazine

Andoni Torres


Sunday, 7 July 2024, 22:53

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Here in Spain summer brings high temperatures and many hours of sunshine. The brightness of the summer season can impair our vision at the wheel, as the national DGT (Directorate-General for Traffic) reminds us in its online magazine 'Tráfico y Seguridad Vial' (Traffic & Road Safety). Many drivers wear sunglasses to improve comfort and to protect their eyes from the sun's UV rays that can damage our vision.

There are many types of sunglasses on the market, which are generally effective in improving comfort when driving. Brown, grey or green lenses are the most common. Experts tell us that brown lenses increase contrast and green lenses also reduce glare and eye fatigue. Pink lenses also increase contrast and reduce eye fatigue for prolonged use, while yellow lenses, because they block blue light, may be advisable for patients with retinal problems.

The DGT reminds us that "Neither photochromic sunglasses nor category 4 filter glasses should ever be used when driving. With this type of glasses, when entering a tunnel, vision is seriously compromised, as they reduce the passage of light (category 4) so much so that it is like driving blind, and the long time (3 to 5 minutes) taken by photochromic glasses to adapt to the change can dramatically and dangerously reduce vision."

Sunglasses with a category 4 filter are suitable for use in high mountain areas, skiing and water sports, where the intensity of sunlight is extreme. They are capable of absorbing up to 98% of light, but should not be used for driving.

Photochromic lenses, as the DGT explains, change colour when exposed to light. They darken fairly quickly (about 30 seconds) when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, although they do not activate at high temperatures. The disadvantage is the deactivation (clearing) time (3 to 5 minutes), which makes them unsuitable for driving.

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