Can You Get Sunburn Through a Window? A Guide for Truck Drivers

Can you get sunburn through a window? This is a question truckers need to know the answer to. Luckily, our guide here will help you stay safe from the sun. 

Sunburns are nasty, but at least you can't get them indoors, right? The thing is, many experts recommend wearing sunscreen inside, especially if you are near a window.

For those who spend a lot of time driving, it raises concerns about your dermal health. You can't exactly install blackout curtains on your windshield! So, can you get a sunburn through a window, especially when working in a truck driving career?

In this guide, we examine the risk of sun damage behind glass for truck drivers. We'll discuss helpful methods for reducing your risk.

The Causes of Sun Damage

To answer the question, it's important to get everyone on board with the true cause of sun damage. Many people think it's the visible light that literally burns your skin, but that's not quite it.

Sun damage results from overexposure to ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are invisible to the human eye and are a common component in visible light. We are surrounded by other forms of invisible light on a daily basis, such as infrared, but only UV is harmful.

UV light doesn't just create a wicked red sunburn, it damages your skin cells and your DNA. At best, this ages your skin faster. At worst, it increases your risk of skin cancer.

To make things more complicated, UV light comes in two distinct rays: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper and are the primary cause of DNA damage and skin cancer. UVB, on the other hand, leads to premature skin aging and damage.

Can You Get a Sunburn Through a Window?

The short answer is, in most cases, yes. Even being in a room with natural light is enough to lead to mild sunburns and skin damage.

That said, it's a bit more complicated than you may realize. Let's examine the reasons why.

A Transparent Window Can Block Some UV Rays

At first glance, it may seem like transparent glass provides no barrier against UV rays. To an extent, that is true. Glass cannot block UVA rays - the ones responsible for skin cancer - very well.

However, glass does a surprisingly good job of blocking UVB rays. Remember, UVB rays are the ones most responsible for aging and sun damage. So it would seem that windows can prevent sunburns, but not skin cancer.

It's important to remember here that UVB (the rays your glass can impede) is the primary cause of sunburns. Likewise, UVA is the primary cause of DNA damage. But both rays can sunburn and damage your DNA, even if they can only do one of those things to a small degree.

Long story short, it's not enough to block just one UV wavelength. You have to block both.

Not All Windows Include UV Treatment

Automakers recognize the threat of UV rays, so many of them treat their windshields to block UVA. This means the average transparent windshield may block a fair amount of UVA and UVB. 

That said, this usually only applies to the windshield, not the other windows on your truck. So in theory, sunlight directly through your windshield could be less damaging. Sunlight through your side or back windows, however, wouldn't be.

Tinted Windows Block Most UV Rays

There's a good chance, like many people, that you have tinted windows. One of the lesser-known benefits of tinted windows is that they block much more UV radiation than transparent, treated ones.

This isn't to say that tinted windows are equivalent to wearing sunscreen or UV-blocking clothes. It's much better, though, than being in a car with no tinted windows at all.

Sun Damage Risk for Truck Driving Jobs

Truck drivers often spend long hours behind the wheel. Many of them drive through the night, but a significant portion drive most of their working hours during the day. 

CDL drivers in trucks large and small need big, wide windows to see the road clearly. Big and wide windows admit more light into the cabin, increasing sun exposure. 

So in conclusion, truck driving jobs put drivers at risk of a significant amount of UV radiation. Even with tinted windows, driving for a full day will lead to some degree of UV exposure. So what are your options?

Preventing Sun Damage

Luckily, there's a lot that truck drivers can do to protect their skin. Let's take a look at the options you should consider.

Get Tinted Windows

Tinted windows are a must-have for daytime truck drivers. A quality tint is relatively affordable, and there's a good chance your trucking company will provide it free of charge if you ask. The only real downside to tinted windows is limited nighttime visibility.

If possible, get the highest legal tint ratio possible. Deeper tints provide greater protection from UV rays.

Do keep in mind that this is not the complete solution but rather a method to minimize your risk. The following options will also be necessary.

Wear Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is essential when driving long hours in the sun. Make sure to get a high-SPF sunscreen and apply it before starting your day.

If you don't like the greasy sunscreen, consider paying a bit more to get the higher-quality stuff. Since you'll be in an air-conditioned cabin, you won't have to worry about reapplying every two hours. Make sure to apply the sunscreen everywhere, especially behind your ears and on your neck.

Wear UV-Blocking Clothing

Applying sunscreen is a huge pain. It leaves your skin feeling oily and has a tendency to stain your clothes. So, consider buying UV-blocking clothing.

UV-blocking clothing has a similar effect to wearing a high-SPF sunscreen. It blocks UVA and UVB rays over large areas like arms, torso, legs, and neck.

Get yourself a pair of sun sleeves in particular. They've got helpful hand covers and little silicone grippers to keep them from sliding off. You can take them on or off with ease, too.

Get UV-Blocking Clothing at BloqUV

Can you get a sunburn through a window as a truck driver? In most cases, yes, especially when you have non-tinted windows. Get your windows tinted, wear sunscreen, and put on some UV-blocking clothes to protect yourself.

BloqUV has been making tried-and-tested, quality UV-blocking gear since 2009. Upgrade your wardrobe to sunburn-proof clothing with our clearance sale.