Best Sunglasses for Driving
When you’re driving, do you ever struggle to see on bright sunny days, during rush hour, or in bad weather? If so, you may want to consider getting a pair of driving sunglasses to help you see better from behind the wheel.
What Are Driving Sunglasses?
Driving sunglasses are just like regular sunglasses, but you wear them specifically when you’re driving. They have built-in features like glare reduction and special lens tints that help you navigate the roads clearly and safely in different lighting and weather conditions.
Best of all? You can wear them outside the car too!
What to Look for in the Best Driving Sunglasses
To get the best sunglasses for driving, you should look for the following features:
100% UVA and UVB Protection
When you’re behind the wheel, your windshield naturally blocks most UVB rays, and it’s treated to provide some protection from UVA rays as well. Unfortunately, that means some of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation can still get through to your eyes and skin.
Because your windshield only offers this limited UV protection, the most important thing your driving sunglasses should do is block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Both types of UV rays are harmful, and either can eventually lead to skin cancer.
Reduction or Elimination of Glare
Glare from the sun can be very distracting while driving. One of the best ways to avoid this distraction is to wear sunglasses with polarized lenses and an anti-reflective (AR) lens coating.
The polarization filters glare from reflections off other cars, buildings, the road’s surface, and even nearby water (more on this later). The AR coating provides added support by reducing reflections from the back of the lens, which is especially helpful when the sun is behind you.
Larger Fit and Style
A larger frame can cover more of your face and provide more shade and protection for your eyes than a smaller frame. Wraparound frames are also a good choice because they give you a wide view and block harmful UV rays from entering your eyes from the side.
Whatever style you choose, make sure your shades fit your face well and are comfortable to wear. Even if the frames are oversized, you don’t want them to be loose.
Contrast-Enhancing Lens Color
Sunglasses lenses come in a variety of colors (or tints). The best sunglasses for driving have one of these lens colors:
- Brown, copper, yellow and amber lenses enhance contrast and depth perception, which means they help you see better on both sunny days and cloudy days.
Do I Need Polarized Sunglasses?
Polarized lenses are considered by many to be essential for driving sunglasses, especially in bright sunlight.
When the sun’s rays land on a flat surface like water, the light reflects off that surface and becomes polarized. The light travels mostly horizontally and can hit you right in the eyes. This can make it very hard to see clearly, particularly if you’re wearing non-polarized sunglasses.
The filter on polarized sunglasses reduces these horizontal light waves, diminishing the glare from bright light and making it easier to see.
Here are some more reasons why a polarized lens is key when you want the best sunglasses for driving:
- Polarized lenses reduce the glare that comes from reflective surfaces such as cars, roads, and water.
- Less glare means clearer and more comfortable vision.
- They can also help you see better in some hazardous driving conditions, like when light reflects off snow and wet roads, and when the sun seems extra bright.
- Polarized lenses also help reduce glare on cloudy days and when it’s foggy outside.
All polarized lenses from Foster Grant come with 100% UVA-UVB protection, but not all UV-blocking lenses are polarized. Before you buy a new pair of sunglasses, make sure the lenses block UV rays and are polarized.
When Not to Wear Tinted Lenses While Driving
It’s not safe to wear any sunglasses while driving at night. Darker-tinted lenses reduce your contrast sensitivity and make it harder to see in the dark.
Here are some other situations where you shouldn’t wear sunglasses — with or without polarized lenses — while driving:
On Icy Roads
You should not wear polarized lenses if there may be ice where you’re driving. Polarized lenses can filter the reflection from the ice, making it harder to see possible ice and making the road more dangerous.
If Your Car Has a Heads-Up Dashboard Display
Many newer cars have a heads-up dashboard display that shows your speed, navigational directions, and other important information on your windshield. Your car reflects light horizontally off the windshield to create this display in front of your eyes.
But since polarized lenses block horizontal light, you may not be able to see this display while wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses.
If Your Car Has an LCD Screen
Like some dashboard displays, some information and entertainment screens may also have polarized filters. This means you may not be able to see the information displayed on the screen if you’re wearing polarized sunglasses.
If you’re looking for the best-quality sunglasses for driving, we’ve got you covered. Shop our catalog of driving sunglasses to find your perfect pair.
- 4 best sunglasses for driving in 2023. All About Vision. October 2019.
- Anti-reflective coating for eyeglasses. All About Vision. February 2019.
- Sunglasses lens technology. Foster Grant. Accessed September 2023.
- Are polarized sunglasses right for you? All About Vision. February 2019.
- Why should you wear sunglasses year-round? All About Vision. March 2020.
- Are polarized sunglasses good for night driving? All About Vision. February 2020.
* Like Foster Grant, All About Vision and AAV Media, LLC are affiliates of EssilorLuxottica.