Removing Sunglasses When Driving Through a Tunnel

Q: A friend of mine, who wears tinted prescription glasses (she is albino and hypersensitive to light) was finger-wagged by a friendly RCMP officer while driving through the Massey Tunnel.  Some sources I have read say that even prescription sunglasses are “supposed” to be swapped for regular lenses when going through a tunnel, but…what if the tinting is medically required?  Is there a bylaw fine attached, since it’s not in the BC MVA?  And doesn’t swapping glasses constitute a driving distraction?  This may all be academic, but we’re curious.  Help!

Good question.  What colour is the sign that tells you to remove your sunglasses through the tunnel? (All obvious reasons to remove sunglasses while driving through a dark tunnel aside). 

Technically if the sign is white and black, then it’s a regulatory sign and if you don’t follow the instructions on the sign you are breaking the law and could get a legitimate ticket. 

But if the sign has a yellow background, then technically this is warning sign only and not actual law/regulation. If you don’t follow it then the question is, could you still receive a ticket for not following the sign – even though it’s a mere warning sign – much like the yellow signs that advise drivers there is a curve in the road, or a traffic light coming up, or to watch for wildlife near the road? 

I just drove past there the other day and I swear it was white, but when I look on google maps it appears to be yellow. Have they updated the sign recently to make it white? Does anyone know? 

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At the Cassiar Tunnel there is an obvious yellow warning sign:

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I think your albino friend could make a case for herself if stopped. What’s worse, driving down the highway at 80 km/hr (or whatever) and trying to fumble around to switch glasses, (or worse, removing a set of prescription sunglasses and driving through the tunnel blind because you forgot your regular prescription glasses) or driving through the tunnel with sunglasses on? This is a lot less complicated for people who have 20/20 vision! 

Drivers probably just make the police nervous if they’re seen driving at highway speeds into a dark tunnel wearing sunglasses… 

The other question is, if you drive through the tunnel with your sunglasses on and don’t notice the traffic in front of you is stopping and you end up smashing into the vehicle in front and/or getting rear-ended, would you still feel the same about your decision to wear the sunglasses? And could that collision be partially (or entirely) your fault since you could be considered ‘half-blind’ and failed to follow a highway sign? Things to consider. 

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

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