Doctors are advising motorists to slap on the sunscreen every time they get behind the wheel on a sunny day to avoid raising the risk of developing skin cancer.
Contrary to popular belief, glass will block out UVB rays but still allow the more-damaging UVA rays to pass through and beam down on unprotected skin.
The advice has been issued after a survey conducted by the Stony Brook University in the State of New York found that just 15 per cent of 225 men and women questioned said they used sun cream 'most of the time' while driving – a figure described as 'dismal' by the researchers.
Many of those surveyed had suffered with skin cancer in the past but despite this, failed to wear sun cream while driving as they thought that driving with the windows closed would protect them from the sun's harmful rays.
Dr Dennis Kim, one of the researchers, said: "Like the majority of patients in our study, I too used to feel protected from the sun while in a vehicle, unfortunately this is not true.
"Because such a large proportion of a person's cumulative sun exposure occurs while in a vehicle, automobile-related UVA exposure is a considerable public health concern."
The most prevalent form of skin cancer in the UK is a non-malignant melanoma, it affects some 100,000 people each year and it is most commonly found on the arm closest to the driver's window.
Yinka Ebo, of Cancer Research UK, said: "Although this is a small study that relied on skin cancer patients recalling what they did in the past, it's a reminder to consider sun protection even for everyday activities like driving.
"Windows can block UVB rays but most don't block UVA rays – so your skin may still be getting damaged."