Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Factoid For The Day

It's no secret that I am sun-averse.  Not because I don't like the sun, but I've had a lifetime of UV exposure already and then some and would keep to a strictly vampire-approved schedule if my dermatologist had his way.  I'd try the self-tanner route if I wasn't afraid to end up carrot-orange, but as it is, I give off a radioactive-white glow that can be seen for miles.

At any rate, as the crazy mother of three kids who have a lot of activities between them, I spend a lot of time driving.  My car is permanently equipped with my sunhat, sun wrap and a bottle of sunblock so that I am always prepared for the hours on end of soccer games etc, but it occurred to me recently to wonder how much sun exposure I was getting while in the car en route to all these places.   I called the dealer, who didn't know for sure.  Just for giggles, I looked online to see if there was anywhere to submit the question, and found the Volvo Customer Care website (I drive an XC90.)  I'm sure other manufacturers have a similar site.

A very helpful representative responded to my question almost immediately.  Apparently UVB rays don't go through glass at all (who knew?) and most UVA rays are blocked by the treated glass from which windows and windshields are made.  In my car, more than 99% of UVA rays are blocked by the windshield and about 82% by the side windows.  Happy news for your friend Dracula here!


  1. I think I knew that because when i first got the glasses that darken in sun, the person said "But they won't darken when you're driving." I was like, duh, I need them when I'm hiking and kayaking and gardening. She looked at me so blankly. This was southern California, where people spend far more time driving than anything else. Sad.

  2. Very sad indeed! Quite the car-centric view of the universe...fortunately my life is not quite that bad.

    And an interesting observation, too. Thing Two has sports goggles that transition from regular to sunglasses, but since he sits in the furthest-back seat I've never noticed that they don't darken in the car. And I just have low-tech, regular highfalutin' technology for me! :)

  3. My glasses darken when I'm in the car. The other day I left them in the little cubby next to the emergency brake and did a quick errand (wearing my sunglasses which live on a string around my neck in the summer. I have a pair of reading glasses too since I'm not ready to bite the varifocal bullet yet). I was gone for about ten minutes and when I got back the lenses had darkened except for a little "x" shape in the middle of one lens where it had been resting on a box of Kleenex. I have melasma and can definitely notice darkening after a couple of hours in the car on a sunny day. And the poor husband has sun rash which is also aggravated by such. You can decinitely tell who has been doing most of the driving by the end of the day.

    I always assumed the car windows acted as a magnifying glass in spite of the treated glass and sunscreen.

  4. Wow, Joan: sounds like you and your husband have even more sun issues than I do! So sorry to hear that. :(


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