Isabelle from EyeBuyDirect shares some tips for choosing the right sunglasses to ensure a safe daytime driving experience and recommends keeping a pair of sunglasses in the car year-round.
Keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road is crucial while driving; despite all precautions, sometimes, it can be difficult to see properly, especially when the sun shines strongly through the windshield. Fortunately, wearing sunglasses improves safety, reduces eye strain, and eliminates the chances of accidentally becoming blinded by the sun while driving.
Additionally, sunglasses shield the eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. Long-term UV exposure can cause eyelid damage and increase the risk of developing skin cancer. They also reduce glare and vision in adverse weather like rain and snow.
This article offers expert advice on selecting the best sunglasses to guarantee a safe and memorable trip.
Find a quality pair of polarized sunglasses
Normal sunglasses can’t block glare, and the best choice is polarized sunglasses; they have polarized lenses coated with a chemical filter that blocks the vertical glare-causing light, improving visual clarity while driving and preventing eye strain. They come in different colors and shapes that meet all tastes so that you will be driving safely in style.
There are two ways to test sunglasses to make sure they’re polarized:
Pop-out lenses test
Get a white paper sheet and the two lenses you want to test; hold one lens on top of the paper when looking through it, and keep the second one on top of the first, facing the same direction.
Move the second lens slowly until it becomes vertical to the first one; if the overlap area of the two lenses gets darker until it completely blacks out, it means both lenses are polarized. The bottom lens blocks the horizontal light, the top one blocks the vertical light, and the two block the light completely.
Use a computer’s back-lit LCD screen and look at it through the lenses, then start rotating them; if they get darker and blackout, they are polarized. The reason is that LCD screens are also polarized and would function as the second lens in the previous test.
While polarized sunglasses can help adjust your eyes to changing light and help to block out the glare of the sun while driving during the day, darkened polarized lenses are not recommended for night driving.
Make sure they have comfortable frames
When driving for a distance, you’ll have to wear sunglasses for a long time; therefore, choosing a pair of sunglasses that fit well is essential. Don’t choose a sunglasses frame that’s too tight or loose because you’ll probably take them off after a short time.
Consider your face shape, size, temple, and head bridge to get the right fit. Also, frames are made from different materials such as metal or stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, and wood; make sure to pick a flexible material and try the sunglasses on to ensure proper fit. Frame weight is another factor, and lightweight frames are more comfortable for driving.
Avoid thick side frames as they can block the side vision, which can be dangerous while driving. Instead, go for thinner sides that allow seeing around the frame into other lanes of traffic.
Get 100% UV Protection
Sunlight exposure is good for overall health; however, too much exposure can harm the skin and eyes. The most harmful factor is UV radiation which can’t be seen but can cause eye ailments such as cataracts.
Sunglasses must protect the eyes fully from UV rays and block UVB and UVA. Before checking the price tag, ensure the sunglasses provide 100% UV protection. The labels can tell you how much protection the sunglasses offer; the three main labels are 100% UV protection, blocking UVA/UVB rays, and 400NM.
UV 400 label means the sunglasses block UV light with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which provide almost 100% UV protection.
When shopping offline, ask about the UV coating or check the sunglasses box for UV keywords. When shopping online for sunglasses, check the product description and look for any keywords relevant to UV protection. Remember that your lens color and tint have nothing to do with UV protection, so they don’t have to be darker to block UV.
Benefits of wearing sunglasses
Be safe from road accidents
Driving, at times, can be dangerous, and accidents commonly happen because of various circumstances and regardless of a driver’s skills. A helpful way to avoid accidents as much as possible is to wear sunglasses during daytime driving, especially when your vision is limited because of bright and beaming sunlight getting into your eyes and blinding you when behind the wheel. Moreover, it can cause eye strain, headaches, and sometimes even nausea.
Sunglasses improve visual clarity and help the eyes adjust from bright light to dim light quickly, such as when entering a tunnel or when the weather changes rapidly. Wearing sunglass might help avoid some catastrophic events and protect your eyes while in the vehicle.
Protect your eyes against the glare
Blinding sunshine can be seriously dangerous to drivers, especially ‘glare’. It happens when concentrated light reflects in a single direction from objects like snow, water, or car surfaces. It disrupts vision, which is annoying and occasionally risky, especially while driving. Sunglasses, particularly polarized ones, will shield your eyes from glare and prevent you from becoming sunblind suddenly.
Improve your visual acuity when driving in the rain
One of the worst situations is driving in the rain. With just a few water droplets falling, many people get distracted and even forget they have a turn signal! Then, the windshield becomes smudged with rain, and visibility is lowered. In that case, wearing sunglasses will help you out.
Rain scatters the light and causes glare and an atmospheric effect similar to fog; polarized sunglasses reduce glare and can help provide clear vision during such weather.
Sunglasses protect the eyes all year round
Contrary to common misconception, wearing sunglasses during winter or cloudy days is as important as protecting the eyes from the sun on a hot summer day. In fact, UV rays are way more intense during winter. Just because the heat of the sun rays is not felt on cloudy winter days, it doesn’t mean the exposure to UV rays is decreasing. A good tip would be to keep a pair of sunglasses in the car so the driver can reach them all year round.
Moreover, in certain climates, some countries experience unstable weather changes, so it suddenly shines brightly even during the winter; therefore, sunglasses should be an integral part of the drivers’ daily routine. In addition, Sun glare reflects and bounces off wet or snowy surfaces, increasing the need to wear high-quality sunglasses in winter and throughout the year.
Driving while clenching the wheel and squinting your way down the street is not a safe practice in the bright sun. Fortunately, you can easily shield your eyes from the sun’s intense light, UV radiation, and glare by wearing sunglasses.
Wearing sunglasses while day driving may increase your safety and help you avoid accidents. But not all sunglasses provide the same level of protection, so be sure to purchase a quality pair of polarized sunglasses labeled as providing 100% UV protection. Additionally, avoid being enticed by colors and shapes and pick a comfortable frame for you to wear for extended periods without getting tired of them.