How To Buy The Best Sunglasses For Driving

When it comes to driving safety, not all sunglasses are created equal.

The color and tint of the lenses can affect how our eyes adjust to outside conditions, while the frames can restrict our field of vision. In other words, our everyday shades may not be the best option when we get behind the wheel.

“You probably wouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes to go out dancing and jogging; you have different shoes for different tasks,” says Dr. Karl Citek, a professor of optometry and a member of the American Optometric Association. “It’s the same with sunglasses.”

Driving during the day means facing the sun’s glare, which can cause our eyes to squint and become strained and fatigued. Even more dangerous is the bright light reflected off the road’s surface and other vehicles. “We refer to that as ‘veiling glare,’ and it obscures the object you’re looking at,” says Citek. “Technically, for that brief moment, you’re blinded.”

The right shades can help reduce the driving risks associated with glare, and can lessen sunlight exposure and limited peripheral vision. Here’s what Citek recommends that you look for.

Young couple in a car on the road.Consider Weather And Geography

Before you buy, think about what your usual commute looks like. Places with many overcast days, or environments with heavy shade, might not require the same degree of lens darkness that driving directly into a sunrise or sunset might. Geography may play a role, too—some regions have more intense sunlight than others, which means that a pair of sunglasses might be an all-day accessory, especially for those with light hypersensitivity.

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Make Sure They’re Well Made

When shopping for new glasses, hold them at arm’s length and look at a straight line, like a countertop edge, through the lenses. “If the view appears curved or blurred or distorted in any way, the sunglasses are probably not good quality,” says Citek.

Pick Polarized Lenses

Polarization absorbs the reflective glare that bounces off both the road and oncoming cars, allowing you to focus clearly on what’s in front of you. It’s a feature usually labeled somewhere on the frame, but here’s how to do a check yourself: Put the sunglasses on and slowly tilt your head to the left or right of your smartphone or laptop’s screen (which is usually slightly polarized, too). If the screen appears dark or seems to change color, the lenses are polarized.

Check For SPF

Even though car windshields already offer UV protection, your sunglasses should block 100 percent of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, which can cause corneal sunburn and other issues. Look for a tag or label that says the shades provide total protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

hand holding aviator sunglasses up against the skyHome In On Hue

Pink, blue or green lenses might look like fun, but they can make red traffic lights indistinguishable from those that are yellow or amber traffic. Instead, go for a dark gray tint. “It reduces brightness evenly, while leaving colors intact,” Citek says.

Find The Right Fit

The bigger the frame, the more protection your glasses will provide—but only if they’re fitted to your face. Look for a wraparound style that’s snug to the sides of the face, with lenses that are close to your eyes. The lenses should be large enough that the frame’s arms don’t get in the way of your peripheral vision; they should allow you to see out even as they block light coming in from the side.

Another bright move? Get peace of mind on the road by downloading the GEICO Mobile app, where you can find and store your digital ID cards, request roadside assistance, view your car’s maintenance schedule, report a claim and much more!

Read More: Think you’re a good driver? Take this quiz to see how your driving skills stack up.

By Ellise Pierce

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    Leave a comment

  1. Edenfantasys says,

    Whether you lap up the cool breeze in your M3 convertible or rumble from A to B in your classic Mini Cooper, it’s worth investing in a decent pair of driving sunglasses

  2. Valentin Golduber says,

    My problem: as i’m driving at the sunny day, I cannot see almost nothing on the control speed, information appliances, GPS information. PLEASE let me know which glasses should i found (and where) to increase visual control ?
    Many thanks,

    • Editor says,

      We cannot endorse any specific manufacturer, unfortunately. We can only provide tips for what features to look for when you’re shopping for sunglasses that you plan to use while driving. We hope the information provided above will help you make the most informed decision in your search.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. joseph a gagliano says,

    Clip on’s from walmart i were from the eyeglass store in walmart. $10.00-15.00.come with a great case.& u might need a good cleaning cloth.the very bets to you.good luck.

  4. Charlie G says,

    I have worn glasses since I was 2 years old and when I have to replace them its a minimum of 4-5 hundred dollars just for lenses. Buying prescription sunglasses is out of the question . I only wear clip on and in amber they are great in all weather conditions even rain and fog. Try the amber you will see big difference.

  5. Ron says,

    Warning – Polarized lenses can make on-screen displays hard to read, and can cause other distractions (like strange light patterns) that may be detrimental to driving safely.

  6. Yvonne I Cummings says,

    Are there any clip-on sunglasses which have the best qualities for driving. Because of the UV properties in the windshield, my transition glasses do not darken when I’m behind the wheel and my optical plan doesn’t cover the the type that is effective in cars. Thanks

  7. Ada says,

    What if your sunglasses are prescription? They’re very expensive so one pair is what I’ll own for many years.

      • Royal Cutler says,

        Walmart carries DVX perscription sunglasses made by Wiley’s. Wich is the military supplier for our armed forces, practically doesn’t get better than this. Frames start at $48, lenses single script $100, with tax out the door $160….

  8. Amado David says,

    That’s why I really do have 3 pair of sunglasses ( Oakley , Ray ban polarized and the yellow lenses for night driving. My doctor advised me always wear during sunny weather because if not it can damage your eyes and caused white spot on your pupil. I hope you guys understand what I meant. Thank You.

    • Norma says,

      Amado thank you for the straight answer to band names of sunglasses ? that are polorized I know they are just a few I am sure there are others to choose from but you gave me an idea
      Thanks so much.

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