You should wear sunglasses while driving to improve safety and comfort, both of which will be enhanced if you choose the right lenses for your sunglasses—lenses with the proper tint, polarization, and UV protection.

How Do Sunglasses Help While I’m Driving?

Seeing clearly while driving is essential, and wearing sunglasses will help in most cases. Whether it’s bright and sunny out, or even when the skies are overcast, sunglasses help out a ton. And polarized sunglasses in particular reduce glare coming off the road, other vehicles, and from other sources. Polarized lenses not only reduce the glare, they make objects sharper and enhance colors on the road, providing a crisp view and safer driving.

Should I Wear Polarized Sunglasses?

Yes, you should wear polarized sunglasses while driving. Polarization is what provides the clarity when there is glare on the road, one of the biggest impediments to safety behind the wheel. The sun coming off another car’s windshield, a piece of metal, or the wet road can make it extremely hard to see. Police reports often cite glare as a cause of a crash. But even if you are able to arrive at your destination safely, driving without sunglasses can leave you fatigued and can lead to vision problems in the long term.

Sunglasses May Help in Rain and Fog

Sunglasses will help, but polarized lenses in your driving glasses will help you see better in rainy or foggy conditions. Without polarization your glasses will simply make it darker and harder for you to see. But a lens with a lighter tint and polarization can make foggy or hazy conditions more clear. Polarization helps clear up the glare caused by light reflecting off the wet road and objects. Polarized lenses also filter the haze caused by humidity in the air.

How Dark Should My Driving Sunglasses Be?

Good driving sunglasses will not allow too much or too little light to get through. Sunglasses you use at the beach or for other activities outside in the bright sun may not be the best for driving. Many drivers will buy two or more pairs of sunglasses for driving. Glasses with a dark tint will be appropriate for the brightest days. But you’ll need a lighter tint on days when the sun is less bright, or for overcast, foggy, or even rainy days. Drivers too often buy the darkest tint they can find and ignore them when it’s cloudy. That’s a mistake. Good sunglasses can be helpful on days with less sun, providing a crisper view and improved visibility. But how much tint do you need?

  • Strong sun – 70% to 85% tint
  • Medium sun – 40%-55% tint
  • Low sun – 15% to 30% tint

Avoid wearing sunglasses darker than 5% to 10% for driving at night.

Other Types of Lenses for Driving

If you’d prefer to buy only one pair of glasses, there are a couple of options. Photochromic lenses change with the amount of light — turning darker the more light is detected. Just make sure you buy lenses that are sensitive to visible light as well as ultraviolet light. Vehicle windshields often have UV filters, which can make your photochromic glasses react differently to UV light than they will to visible light.

Another popular type of lens is the graduated tint lens, ideal for drivers who find wearing darker sunglasses difficult when they try to read the car’s instrument panel. But you don’t have to settle on one tint for the entire lens in your driving sunglasses. Graduated lenses can have a darker tint in the top portion of the lens to block out the strongest sunlight, giving way to a lighter tint near the bottom to better see your instruments inside the vehicle.

Ray-Ban New Wayfarer RB2132 with Gradient Tint

Should I Get UV Protection Sunglasses?

Yes, ultraviolet light protection is important in all glasses, but particularly in sunglasses. The darker tints in sunglasses let your pupil enlarge, exposing your eye to potential UV damage. Contrary to popular belief, polarized glasses do not automatically include UV protection—it has to be added to the lenses.

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