Driving lesson

A cleaning mistake could cost you £5,000 and nine points on your driving license

If you make this common mistake with your sunglasses while driving, you could face a £5,000 fine and up to nine points on your licence.

With summer in full swing and record temperatures making the flags crack, it is essential to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays when you are behind the wheel.

You might also be facing a long road trip with the family as the summer school holidays continue.

But if you’re one of the many drivers who clean their sunglasses while driving — usually by momentarily taking one or even both hands off the wheel to wipe the lenses — you could be in serious trouble with the law. .

That’s according to the experts at Select Car Leasing, who say you could be prosecuted for ‘driving without care and attention’, an offense that falls under ‘reckless driving’.

Although this is an offense that sits on the more serious ‘dangerous driving’ rung, you can still be fined up to £5,000 and you can end up with between three and nine points on your license.

Graham Conway, Managing Director of Select Car Leasing, explained: “The message is clear here: make sure your sunglasses lenses are clean before you go, even if you’re not wearing them at the time.

“It’s a situation that many of us have experienced. The sun suddenly begins to blind you as you drive, you reach into the glove box, pull out the sunglasses, only to realize the lenses are smudged and blurry.

“You could take your hand off the wheel and subtly clean the glasses at the bottom of your shirt. You can even take both hands off the wheel to make sure you can clean the edges of sunglasses lenses.

“But by taking your hands off the wheel for even a second, you put yourself and other road users at serious risk of accident and injury.

“If you hit a pothole in the road when you don’t have full control of the steering wheel, your car can suddenly change direction, sending you rushing towards another vehicle.”

Driving without care and attention, classified as a “CD10” offence, means you are driving has fallen below the standard expected of a “competent and safe driver”.

It covers momentary lapses in concentration – a lapse that can occur while you’re cleaning your sunglasses – and in minor cases you can also expect to be sent on a driver improvement course if prosecuted.

If a breach is more serious, you could also be charged with “dangerous driving” – and face a driving ban of at least 12 months and up to two years in prison.

Under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, dangerous driving occurs when road behavior is “well below the standard expected of a competent and safe driver”.

This includes when a driver is “distracted in avoidable and dangerous ways”, such as reaching for a cell phone, looking at a map, or even talking and staring at a passenger.

Graham Conway of Select added: “Make sure your sunglasses are clean, but also make sure they are within reach if you need them.

“And don’t forget to make sure your sunglasses lenses aren’t so dark that they obscure your vision, especially if you’re driving early in the morning or at dusk.”