Even the best drivers can feel a little less safe on the road when bright sunlight gets in the way, impacting your ability to see clearly. Sunglasses with specific lenses can help to improve clarity and help you feel a little safer while you’re out on the roads. Here’s our guide to finding the right driving sunglasses for you.
What are the dangers of driving in bright, sunny conditions?
Light reflected from surfaces like windscreens, mirrors and flat road surfaces can all obscure vision, making it difficult to see the road ahead. At certain times of the day, the sun sits on the horizon and can shine directly into your eyes, often causing reduced visibility.
But it’s not just on sunny days that sunlight can obscure your vision – in snowy or rainy weather, sunlight can reflect off wet road surfaces too. Bright conditions can also lead to reduced contrast perception. Contrast allows you to see objects that are not clearly outlined against the background, so poor contrast can make it difficult to see pedestrians and read road signs.
What are the best sunglasses for driving?
A good-quality pair of sunglasses can help to reduce eye strain and squinting by reducing the amount of light that enters your eyes, giving you a clearer, more comfortable view of the road ahead.
Sunglasses with category 3 lenses are best for daytime driving conditions — any higher is considered too dark to drive safely. For low light and night-time driving when sunglasses are not suitable, our UltraClear SuperClean lenses help to reduce reflections (such as from signage and street lights) experienced while driving.
It’s also worth remembering that, even inside your car, you’re still at risk of UV ray damage to your eyes. Some car windscreens are designed to block UV rays, although this can vary between different models, so it’s always best to get UV400 protection in your glasses to be safe.
There are also lens treatments you can add to sunglasses and prescription glasses to enhance your comfort and help improve your driving vision. These range from polarising lenses to tints that help to improve contrast perception.
Learn more about UV protection and sunglasses categories here.
Are polarised lenses good for driving?
Polarising lenses (or polarised lenses) reduce light glare reflected from flat, horizontal surfaces like roads, which is why they can be a great option for driving sunglasses. They can also help to improve contrast perception and offer UV protection. Polarising lenses can sometimes affect the viewing of LCD displays though, so that’s something to bear in mind when wearing them.
Glasses for driving at night
While sunglasses are not recommended for night time driving, if you wear glasses, you might find that it becomes a little more difficult to see while driving at night time — particularly if you have astigmatism. This is because at night our pupils are already dilated to adapt to low light. This means our eyes have to work harder to constrict the pupils when faced with bright headlights, street lighting and glare caused by this.
Unlike yellow tinted driving glasses, that were previously used to address night-time driving issues like bright lights and glare, our SuperDrive varifocal lens appears clear, and contains an UltraClear SuperClean Smart anti-reflection treatment. This treatment is designed to help reduce reflections and dazzle caused by headlights and street lighting. Not only will this treatment help to minimise reflections, but it will also help to keep your glasses cleaner and scratch-free.
Tinted glasses for driving
It’s also possible to add a specialist tint to your prescription glasses to give you a clearer view of the road while driving. This option is great for those who don’t like the darkened vision that driving sunglasses offer, but still want some added protection against light glare and UV rays during the day.
What colour lens is considered best for driving?
Grey, amber, and brown tinted lenses are most often preferred for driving. Pink, red, and blue tints are not recommended for driving sunglasses because, although stylish, they can distort colours on traffic lights. Our sun and UV tints in brown, grey and green offer great UV protection and can help to soften harsh lights and relieve eye strain.
Varifocal lenses for driving
If you’re a varifocal wearer, then a regular pair of sunglasses won’t be enough to improve your overall driving vision. Instead, you might benefit from a varifocal lens for driving, which can also be ordered as sunglasses or polarising sunglasses for sunnier days.
Our SuperDrive varifocal lenses have a super-wide distance and middle zone to give you a clear view of the road ahead, as well as things in close-range, like your sat-nav and wing mirrors. SuperDrive varifocals come with our UltraClear SuperClean Smart treatment as standard, which helps to reduce reflections and dazzle caused by headlights and street lighting.
What style of driving sunglasses is best?
The best pair of driving sunglasses will differ based on your vision requirements and, of course, your tastes.
Classic Aviator-style frames are an all-time favourite for driving sunglasses. They were originally designed for pilots to help them see clearly while flying in extremely bright conditions. This makes them a good option for drivers because their teardrop shape prevents light entry from all angles, which is great for protecting against UV damage.
Wraparound-style sunglasses are also a popular choice for those particularly affected by light glare from all angles. Their larger lenses and close fit provide maximum coverage from the sun, almost like a windshield for your eyes, making them a good option while on the road.