Thursday, May 22, 2008

What Sunglasses Should I Wear While Driving?

My dad has been wearing the biggest possible pair of sunglasses while driving since I was too young to realize that they are just as important as they are un-cool. Most cars come equipped with some level of protection from the sun in the form of a “sun shade”, or a band of tinted glass near the top of the windshield. This is not enough, unless you are only looking straight, or the sunlight is coming straight at you, which is never the case. Wearing sunglasses while driving is necessary in almost all conditions, weather and environments. There are two things to consider when buying sunglasses for driving: lens features and lens color.

Your lenses should have a polarized light filter. Because of the polarization of light (as we learned before), we are exposed to glare that causes distractions and dangers. This is especially true while driving. Many surfaces can polarize light including glass, water, snow and even concrete! Concrete on its own can cause the polarization of light because of the material used, but also, our roads are often covered with oils and chemicals which makes the glare even worse. Ironically, our own cars even cause glare, as light reflecting of the hood can cause a considerable amount of it. Perhaps more distracting is that the glare from the hoods and windshield of on-coming cars.

A polarized lens filter greatly reduces the glare cause by polarized light reflecting off of water (notice the “white” water and glare has disappeared with the polarized filter on the right).

The color of the lenses is also very important. There are several categories of lenses color (which we will get to at a later date), but while driving, they should be reasonably dark. In general they should not be lightly colored lenses, and should not change the color of your surroundings. Red, green or orange lenses are not recommended, as they will change the color of everything, include traffic lights! I recommend grey or brown which both won’t change the colors in your view, and will provide sufficient coverage from the sun. Stay away from super dark (Category 4) lenses, as they will not let enough light through, and are even illegal when driving in many countries!

I highly recommend having a pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses for driving, at all times. The difference between having to deal with glare and not having to is huge. Not only does polarized light feel uncomfortable on the eyes, the glare it causes is distracting, and this can be very dangerous when driving. Bring your pair nice time you hit the road and get a pair with good lenses if you don’t have one.

oto Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

1 Responses to “What Sunglasses Should I Wear While Driving?”

YUZ said...
December 25, 2009 at 10:54 PM

I totally agree for driving we need a polarized sunglasses.It helps me a lot.Polarized lens help us to reduce glare therefore while driving its much more comfortable.On the other hand,our vision become much more sharper.

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