If you own a decent pair of sunglasses, you can be confident that they will be protecting your eyes from the sun, providing UV protection and keeping dust and debris out of your eyes. Even if your sunglasses are checking all of these boxes, they still might not be your best option for driving sunglasses.
Driving places a new set of demands on your eyes, dazzling sunlight, glare and fog to name a few. Another factor is being able to see road signs clearly so you can easily distinguish colors, (very helpful for traffic lights)!
So what makes for a good pair of driving sunglasses? We’ve broken it down for you with a few recommendations-
Fixed vs Variable (Photochromic) Lenses
Variable lenses automatically change tint/darkness depending on how much UV light they are exposed to. These are not a suitable choice for driving glasses.
The windscreen on a car can block 40% of UV light, so this is going to interfere with the appropriate lens tint on your sunglasses. Photochromic lenses are reactive, but it takes time for them to adjust. If you go from bright sunlight, into a tunnel your lenses will still be dark until they adjust to your new surroundings. We don't need to go into why this is dangerous. Also colder temperatures slow down the adjustment time on Variable lenses. Stay with a fixed lens, that is a must.
Your lens color will affect how much visible light reaches your eyes and how well the user can see colors. Obviously this is important for seeing road signs, traffic lights etc. Pink, blue and green lenses do not make for the best driving sunglasses as they can make red lights difficult so distinguish.
The best colors for driving lenses are grey and brown. These lenses are color neutral so they will not affect how you will see colors.
Are polarized sunglasses better? They certainly are. Polarized lenses are the best choice for driving as they dramatically reduce glare from reflected surfaces, other cars, wet roads etc. Glare puts a huge amount of strain on the eyes and can be dangerous and distracting. Polarized lenses can also be a good choice in foggy conditions because of their ability to sharpen details, just be careful with the level of tint. If you are wondering "why polarized sunglasses"? We have done a comprehensive write up of polarized sunglasses here.
Here are our two standout choices for our best driving sunglasses-
A great pair of sunglasses can only add to the thrill of driving on the open road, stay safe out there.