Have you ever bought a pair of sunglasses only to realize that something about the frames or lenses makes it even more difficult to see the road? It might have been that the tint was too dark, that the frames were too obstructive, or perhaps that the lenses themselves created distortions in your visual field. These problems are exceptionally common - even with high quality, high-end brands.
Unfortunately, too many drivers choose to settle with inadequate eye protection while driving but driving with inappropriate sunglasses can be just as dangerous as wearing none at all. This quick guide will help you choose a pair with a higher likelihood of meeting your road-safety needs.
Lens Treatments To Increase Visibility
Polarization is one of the most useful lens treatments for daily drivers. Polarization helps to cut glare from horizontal surfaces, like pavement and water, useful for people who drive in bright light conditions. Polarization can even cut through fog and haze - if you get a pair of polarized sunglasses without tint or with a very light tint, you can even use them to improve visibility in the rain.
We always suggest investing in sunglasses with 100% UV protection. The windshield will block most cancer-causing UV rays but the other windows offer virtually no protection. Other helpful treatments include anti-reflective technology to remove glare from the surface of the sunglasses, and in certain circumstances, anti-scratch coating can come in handy too.
Lens treatments can also decrease visibility if applied incorrectly. Good sunglasses (note: this does not mean “expensive”) have lens treatments integrated directly into the lens, applied while the lenses were still in a liquid state. Other sunglasses have these treatments applied as a film layer out the outside, after the fact. Layers of film can reduce clarity and creates a deceptive distortion around the peripherals. Additionally, films tend to scratch easily, further enhancing these problems.
Choosing The Right Tint Color
Some tint colors can help improve the clarity of vision while driving, while others can reduce it. Gray tints preserve color accuracy the best - ideal for most driving situations. Amber, gold, and brown-tinted lenses can actually improve color contrast, a great benefit to people who often drive during overcast conditions. Personally, I’m loving the 8wake sunglasses in burnt orange.
Dark tint is not ideal for driving - we always suggest using lightly tinted shades instead. If you need darker tint, consider keeping a separate pair around for use during those exceptionally bright light situations, but keep a lightly tinted pair around for general eye protection. Blue and red tinted sunglasses are not ideal for driving either, as certain brands can actually wash out the appearance of stoplights and signage.
Common Sunglasses Mistakes Drivers Make
We already mentioned that excessively dark tints can reduce driving safety, and blue and red tints can wash out stoplights and signage, but these are not the only pitfalls worth avoiding. Thick frames are one of the most common dangers of inadequate driving sunglasses; even though frames do not block much peripheral vision, even a slight amount of obstruction can cause an accident. Choose frameless or wraparound options whenever possible.
Transitional / photochromic lenses can cause problems for drivers, too. Photochromic sunglasses change according to the intensity of UV rays, which most modern windshields block. Even if enough UV is getting through the side windows, the slow transition time can make tunnels and shady spots too dark while leaving the driver exposed to unexpected sources of glare.
Finding the right pair of driving sunglasses is a matter of trial and error. No particular brand or style is going to suit everyone. In-store trials are next to useless considering that there is no way to tell how the sunglasses will react under everyday driving conditions, so always ask about return policies so you can put them to the test before investing.
Get excited! Safe driving is always in style, and good driving sunglasses are a very worthwhile investment. Stop squinting through your commute and treat your eyes right-enjoy the health, comfort, and utility of a great pair of shades. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on specialty motorist shades, because there are suitable options out there in every price range.
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