In a humid, sub-tropical climate like the one found in South Carolina, many drivers are exploring all options to protect themselves from the sun’s heat and glare.
But is window tint any good? Can you get pulled over for tint in South Carolina?
Despite the heat and strong UV radiation in this state, the South Carolina window tint laws are very strict and the penalties can be harsh, so you must comply with all rules and regulations.
South Carolina Law and VLT
The level of window tint allowed in South Carolina is regulated by the VLT, or Visible Light Transmission, of the film used.
This measure determines how much light can enter your car from outside and is expressed in percentage points.
For example, if you want to block out half of the light, you will need a VLT of 50%, but if you’d like to block out three quarters, your VLT should be 25%.
In essence, the lower your VLT, the darker your windows will be and the less you will see.
When driving, it’s important that you can clearly perceive the roads and any hazards around you, so the state of South Carolina has enacted some laws that ensure everyone’s safety in 1992.
South Carolina Window Tint Laws for Passenger and Multi-Purpose Vehicles
Before you decide to get window tint, you’ll have to know which type of car you drive.
The regulations are not the same for sedans and SUVs or vans, so you must check with your dealership or the film’s manufacturer that you are following the correct set of rules.
If you have a sedan, you can apply tint to your windshield above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line.
Front and back passenger windows and the rear windows can be tinted at a VLT of 27% or higher.
People who drive an SUV or a van can also tint their windshield above the manufacturer’s AS-1 line.
The front passenger windows should let in at least 27% of the light, but there are no such restrictions on your back passenger windows and your back window.
However, you need to leave several inches of the back side window free from tint.
Further Regulations and Laws in South Carolina
Sometimes, window tint reflects sunlight back, which can be a danger to other drivers.
That’s why all windows must be non-reflective under the local law, although it is not exactly specified what this means.
It is advisable to avoid metallic or shiny surfaces.
You should also remember that dual side mirrors will be required if your back window is tinted.
When purchasing film, avoid the forbidden colors red, amber, and yellow, and check with your dealership or the manufacturer that it is certified, as you won’t be allowed to drive a vehicle with uncertified film.
You will also need to display the sticker that identifies legal tinting between the glass and the film on each tinted window.
Window Tint Laws and Medical Exemptions
In some cases, window tint isn’t just a useful feature but a medical necessity.
There are a number of medical conditions, both genetic and autoimmune, that can cause sunlight sensitivity and make driving with untinted windows dangerous.
Some examples are Systemic lupus erythematosus, Bloom syndrome, Solar urticaria (also called sun allergy), and Protoporphyria.
In South Carolina, you may be able to obtain a medical exemption if you have a serious condition that can make driving in sunlight dangerous.
To check whether your condition is covered and how you could get a prescription for tint, speak to your physician.
With all of these rules and regulations in mind, is it worth getting window tint in South Carolina?
If you drive regularly, you will have seen many cars with tinted windows, and you might be wondering why it is such a common feature.
Let’s explore some FAQs related to window tinting, so you can make an informed choice about installing them in your own vehicle.
How Many People Have Window Tint in South Carolina?
Because it is a hot state, particularly in the summer, and temperatures can climb into the 90s in summer, plenty of people opt for window tint in this state.
This is especially true for those who are more sensitive to sunlight than the average and those who drive for prolonged amounts of time.
Even if you don’t have a medical condition, too much UV light can cause skin damage and premature aging.
Some of the most popular VLTs are between 20-30%, but make sure to follow the law to avoid any issues.
Some people opt for slightly lighter tint so that they can see better and to reduce the likelihood of getting pulled over for this reason.
Can You Get Pulled Over for Tint in South Carolina?
The laws surrounding window tint are stricter in South Carolina than in some other states, and the penalties are also quite high.
The minimum fine for not complying with tinting laws is $200, but you might have to pay more or even spend 30 days in jail if you are a repeat offender.
This is why it’s better to stick to the rules and get certified tint from your local dealership.
South Carolina window tint laws are strictly regulated, but they are straightforward and easy to follow.
Before deciding whether tint is for you, make sure you fully understand them and also check which type of car you own.
By complying with the guidelines, you can enjoy a cooler and more enjoyable drive, while also keeping yourself and all the other road users safe.