How To Choose The Best Sunglasses For Driving
Why should we wear sunglasses when driving?
Firstly, we should explain why it is important to wear sunglasses when driving.
They protect your eyes against UV radiation, and if you choose the right pair, can improve the clarity of your surroundings. This, in turn, can help to prevent accidents caused by poor visibility. If you have ever found yourself squinting to protect your eyes on a bright day, wearing sunglasses will help to reduce the amount of light getting to your eyes and so the need to squint is not so great. This is hugely beneficial when driving as squinting limits your sight and can cause headaches.
Why should we invest in driving sunglasses and not buy cheap?
It is important to invest in sunglasses for driving to ensure the appropriate amount of UV protection. Whether your sunglasses are worn when driving, or not, sufficient UV protection is paramount. When purchasing sunglasses, you should ensure that they are UV protected up to 400 nanometers. At Pretavoir, all of our sunglasses are UVA and UVB protected.
Driving sunglasses and the Law
Before we delve into the different factors to consider before purchasing driving sunglasses, the most important thing to know, is the law behind the sunglasses that you wear whilst driving.
Sunglass tints are categorised. Categories 0 (transparent or very light), 1 (light tint), 2 (medium tint) and 3 (dark tint) are all suitable for day time driving. The darkest tint, category 4, by law, cannot be worn when driving as the tint is too dense. There must be a sufficient amount of light getting to your eyes to allow for good visibility and category 4 lenses do not allow enough light.
Wearing polarised sunglasses helps to reduce glare and it can also prevent distraction caused by bright reflections. When driving, glare can be caused by many things- the sun (particularly when low), snow, water on the road, other vehicles around and even your own car bonnet. If the glare is strong it can potentially be life-threatening. As your vision becomes imparied, so does your view of the road, other vehicles and maybe even pedestrians . Polarised lenses block the dangerous glare and so, they are the number 1 feature to consider when investing in good sunglasses to wear when driving.
When light enters your eye, the refractive power of your cornea bends the light in a way that it scatters it through the eye. Glare is caused when the sunlight hits a flat surface and the light beams form in a uniform, horizontal direction and don’t scatter as they otherwise would. To block the glare, polarised lenses stop the horizontal light from entering and only allow vertical light to pass through.
Glare is not the only aspect that polarised lenses help with. They allow for more comfortable vision by enhancing colour and reducing eye strain. Even more importantly, they block 100% of harmful UVA and UVB light.
For the most part, polarised lenses will be a solid tint, meaning that the distribution of colour is the same throughout the lens. However, you may wish to consider graduated lenses. Many people choose graduated lenses for driving as the tint is darkest when looking straight ahead at the road and lighter or transparent as you look down to your dashboard or steering wheel.
Something that you have not considered to be important when selecting driving sunglasses- frame style and size.
You need to ensure that the frames you choose do not interfere with your peripheral vision. For example, oversized sunglasses, thicker frames or broad temples would be styles to avoid.
Not to worry though, this does not mean that you should compromise on style when selecting your driving sunglasses. Classic aviators for example are a great option for both style and functionality.
There are some lens colours to avoid when wearing sunglasses for driving.
Pink, blue and green lenses affect how you see red light so needless to say, these lens colours should be avoided. Wearing either of these lens colours would cause difficulty in seeing if the car in front is braking which could result in a serious accident. Red traffic lights would also be harder to see when lit.
For driving lenses, please consider colours which will not impede your ability to see certain colours.
Grey sunglass lenses provide true colour perception and for this reason would be the ideal choice of lens colour for your driving sunglasses. They do not distort the colour from traffic lights, lights from other vehicles or road signs. For these reasons, grey lenses are the number 1 choice for driving. Even better, grey polarised lenses.
Other suitable colour options would be brown and green. Like polarised lenses, brown lenses assist in high glare situations.
Whereas green lenses, they improve colour contrast in low light conditions and minimise eye strain in bright light conditions.
Night time driving
You may be tempted to throw on your sunglasses when driving at night to stop the glare from oncoming headlights. However, the Highway Code indicates that sunglasses should not be worn when driving at night time.
There are other types of lenses that you can wear to assist with night time driving. At Pretavoir, we are proud to offer Zeiss DriveSafe lenses. These highly advanced lenses will protect your eyes from reflections from oncoming headlights, and allow you to shift your focus, between the road, GPS, dashboard, mirror and the street, with ease. Not only are these lenses great for wearing at night time, they can be worn during the day and accommodate the size of your pupil depending on the amount of light- something that no other lens can do. If wearing these lenses during the day, you can also take comfort in knowing that they are fully UV protected. Overall, the Zeiss DriveSafe lenses hugely reduce stress on the eyes.
Best brands to consider for driving sunglasses