Preparing Your Car for Holidays and Other Tips

Tinted Windows and Driver Visibility: Four Points to Consider

Car window tinting is a great way to keep the sun's harmful rays out of your car, but if you've never had tinted windows before, you may be wondering if they reduce visibility. In short, tinted window film reduces the amount of visible light that can be transmitted through your vehicle's windows, and when choosing tint, you need to keep visibility in mind. Here are some important tips to consider:

1. Do not tint the front windscreen.

In New Zealand, drivers are not allowed to tint their front windscreens. However, if you are worried about glare, you can ask a tinter to install an anti-glare band on the top of your windscreen -- these strips work in conjunction with your vehicle's sun visors to prevent the sun from getting in your eyes.

2. Consider your tolerance for nighttime driving when choosing tint for your side and rear windows.

Although you cannot tint the front window, you can legally add tint to the side and rear windows. Under the laws in New Zealand, the tint on your windows cannot exceed 35 percent visible light transmission. This means that the film allows in 35 percent of the light that would be allowed in without a film. However, 35 percent is the maximum, and you may not want your windows to be that tinted.

During the day, tinted windows do not prevent you from seeing out of them. However, at night, there is less light available, and as a result, even less light passes through your tinted windows. Ultimately, that can make it hard to see, especially if you already have trouble seeing well during nighttime driving.

Ideally, you should experiment with different levels of tint. If possible, see if the tinter has any cars with the windows already tinted that you could sit in at night. That allows you to see how different VLT levels affect your ability to see in dark conditions. Also, take into account where you tend to drive your car. If you drive primarily on well light urban streets, a high VLT might work fine for you, but if you drive often on unlit, rural roads, you may want film with a lower VLT level to allow in more light.

3. Consider solar adaptation transition tinting.

In lieu of testing out different tints and their effect on your ability to see at night, consider looking for specialized tint. Also called electro chromatic or variable tint, solar adaptive tinted film changes the amount of light it lets in based on the conditions outside. When the sun is shining, the film prevents it from coming through your windscreens, but when the sun goes down and there is less light available, the tint allows in more light.

4. Protect the tint and monitor it for damage.

In addition to the amount of light the tint allows in your car, it can affect your visibility in other ways. It's important to remember that tinted overlays are pieces of vinyl that get attached to your windows. They can get scratched or start to blister in some cases, and these issues can interrupt your visibility.

For example, if the tint on your side windows has a large scratch right at your eye level, it can make it hard to see to the left or right when you are turning. To avoid damage, make sure that you work with a quality tinter who has a proven track record of installing tinted window overlays without them blistering or bubbling. Then, keep an eye on your tint for scratches and remember to replace it as needed.

If you want more tips on how to balance visibility with tinted windows, contact a car window tinting service for more information.