We might all be wishing for summer sun but with it comes a serious risk for drivers and their passengers: skin cancer. Drivers of cars with a convertible roof will already be aware of the harmful side effects of the sun’s rays. In the UK, where cars are right-hand drive, the driver’s right sides will be more vulnerable to harmful ultraviolet rays. Cancer Research UK warns that anyone travelling by car over long distances in sunny weather should wear sun cream: ‘Most glass used for windows blocks UVB but not UVA. This means that although glass might reduce the risk of sunburn, it does not prevent long-term damage from UVA. So, if you are driving long distances every day, you need to make sure you are using sun protection.’
Car windscreens have to be laminated by law and glass like this usually has an equivalent SPF (sun protection factor) of 50. However, legislation governing side windows isn’t as strict, so side window glass is commonly ‘toughened’ and usually only absorbs 65 per cent of UV rays giving an SPF of around 16 – equivalent to a low grade sun screen. If you drive or travel in an older car, the chances are it won’t have laminated glass and will offer no protection from the sun. According to the NHS, we should apply cream liberally, using two teaspoons for a face and neck area and be prepared to reapply every two hours. So if you’re travelling far, take a break, grab a drink and slap on the sun cream.