Sunglasses in the car – beware of this penalty

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The travel season begins. And that means tens of thousands of people are heading south again, usually by car. If you wear sunglasses, you have to be careful.

They look good and protect against the sun’s UV rays, but sunglasses can become a problem in traffic. Especially during the vacation season, tens of thousands of Austrians go on vacation by car again, and numerous checks exist. Many people don’t realize that the little accessory on your nose can even lead to penalties.

“Sunglasses come in shades on a scale between 0 and 4,” explains Petra Riener, Head of Road Safety at ÖAMTC Upper Austria. Level 0 means very translucent, and 4 means almost not at all. “Level four is not possible at all,” says Riener. Category 3 glasses are recommended as a maximum; these have a light transmission of 8 to 18 percent. Darker is dangerous.

Something else that is often not considered: If you have poor eyesight, your sunglasses must also have the appropriate strength.

There are penalties for this in Germany. If the glasses are unsuitable for driving, a “warning” of 10 euros exists. If the glasses are not strong enough, there is a fine of 25 euros.
There are also problems in Austria. For example, if you drive into a tunnel with your sunglasses on and have an accident, you could suddenly find yourself without insurance. “You should put your glasses down in good time before entering a tunnel,” says Riener. She generally advises using the Sunvisor first and foremost.

You should also ensure that your sunglasses are not dirty, as this can be just as distracting as dirty window panes. And: “You shouldn’t use your glasses at all at dusk. Many people still have their sunglasses on when it gets dark and don’t even realize it,” says Riener.

It is also not recommended to leave your glasses on the dashboard. In the UK, this even led to a fire a year ago because the glasses acted like magnifying glasses and dangerously intensified the sun’s rays.

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