Sunglasses might be a cool accessory for when you hit the beach – but when it comes to driving safely in the sun, they become an essential piece of equipment. However, not all sunglasses for driving are the same – so here’s a guide to choosing the most suitable pair for you.
All about sun glare
Most drivers are well aware of the dangers posed by bad weather such as heavy rain, extreme wind, snow and ice. In poor weather, it is essential to adapt your driving to the conditions to ensure your safety, and most people understand this.
However, something that far fewer drivers take seriously is the problem of sun glare – yet sun glare can be at least as dangerous as these other dangerous weather types.
It has been estimated that glare from the sun can increase your chances of being involved in a life-threatening accident by up to 16%.
In 2008, 16.4% of “atmospheric condition” crashes in the US were attributed to sun glare, while in the UK in 2013, it was responsible for 3,000 accidents and 36 fatalities.
These numbers clearly demonstrate the dangers posed by glare, but people tend to ignore it more than other dangerous driving conditions, possibly because it tends to last only for a short time. It also doesn’t have the obvious power and intensity of a strong storm.
The times when you are most at risk of being dazzled by the sun are just after sunrise and just before sunset. This is because, at these times, the sun’s angle means the rays shine directly into your eyes. Wet surfaces can also reflect this light, compounding the problem.
If you are driving into the sun as the sun sets or rises, you can be surprised by a sudden glare that leases you temporarily blinded. The same effect can also occur when you turn a corner and suddenly find yourself driving into bright sunlight.
When this happens, your vision can be seriously impaired, and it may take you a few moments to recover. If you are driving at speed, this sudden temporary blindness can be extremely dangerous.
At other times, when driving into the sun as it rises or sets, some people may simply attempt to squint their eyes and continue driving regardless. In this kind of situation, your vision will become increasingly impaired as the sun rises or sets, gradually increasing the danger.
There are several actions you can take to combat these dangerous effects – we’ll give you some tips at the end of this article – but one of the best things you can do is wear polarized sunglasses that prevent glare from the sun and the road while allowing other light to pass.
Now let’s have a look at ten of the best pairs of sunglasses for driving.
The best sunglasses for driving in 2019
1. SUNGAIT Ultra Lightweight Rectangular Polarized Sunglasses
These stylish and fashionable glasses from Sungait are rated UV400, providing complete protection for your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. They are also 100% polarized, making them ideal for driving – as well as fishing and any other outdoor activities you enjoy.
They feature lenses with dimensions of 42mm x 62mm. They are extremely lightweight and designed for comfort – they include adjustable hinges and soft nose pads, making them pleasant to wear, even for longer periods. Once on, you’ll quickly forget they’re there.
The sturdy frame is constructed from a durable aluminum and magnesium alloy, meaning they are built to last. The dark lenses are shatterproof and offer clear vision with good color. The glasses are supplied with a glasses cloth for cleaning, a screwdriver for adjustments and a black glasses case.
We love the way these glasses look – of course, driving glasses need to be functional to protect you from glare and keep you safe, but they are also a fashion accessory, and these glasses will get you noticed.
These glasses are great value for money and an excellent option specifically for driving but also for general use. They also include a lifetime breakage warranty and money-back guarantee.
2. SUNGAIT Men’s Polarized Sunglasses
This is another pair of affordable yet high-quality sunglasses from Sungait. The style is slightly different from the model above – the lenses are attached to the frame at the top rather than being encircled by it – but they include many of the features that make the other model such a good pick.
They are lightweight and comfortable, with a frame constructed of the same tough aluminum and magnesium alloy. They are rated UV400 and are 100% polarized, protecting your eyes from harmful UVA, UVB and UVC rays while offering clear HD vision.
The lens measures 40mm x 65mm, giving them a slightly different shape and look from the other pair of Sungaits. As with the previous pair, they are sold with a glasses cloth, a screwdriver for making adjustments and a stylish box to keep them safe.
This is another excellent choice of glasses that are ideal for driving and other outdoor use. They are designed both to look good and to keep the sun out of your eyes. They have a slightly different look from the other pair of Sungaits, and which pair to choose comes down to the style you prefer.
3. MERRY’S Unisex Polarized Aluminum Sunglasses
These unisex glasses from Merry’s feature a vintage style with classic-shaped lenses that are available in a range of striking colors. They come with a glasses cloth, a glasses box, a glasses pouch and a polarized test card.
They offer 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays while allowing you HD vision and true color perception – the lenses balance colors well, meaning you see colors in a more natural way. They are durable and built to last and are also easy to clean and maintain.
The lenses are fully polarized, ensuring they will keep the glare out of your eyes when you drive. They would also be suitable for many other outdoor uses, including fishing, running, skiing or anything similar.
They are comfortable to wear and include soft silicone nose pads that are suitable for all skin types to ensure they don’t cause you any irritation.
We love these inexpensive but highly stylish glasses. They’re perfect glasses to leave in your glove box but also ideal for wearing whenever you’re enjoying outdoor activities. We also particularly appreciate the range of color options, meaning you will be able to find a pair that suits you.
4. MERRY’S Men’s Polarized Driving Sunglasses
These glasses from Merry’s are very similar to the pair of Merry’s reviewed above in terms of features and performance but have a completely different look. They are aviator-style glasses designed for men and are worth considering if you require a pair of fashionable driving glasses.
Like the Merry’s glasses we just looked at, they offer 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays to help keep your eyes safe in the sun. They are also fully polarized to filter out sunlight and reflection that may dazzle you as you drive. They allow for true color, HD vision, even in bright sunlight.
The lenses measure 50mm x 61mm and they feature the same soft silicon nose pads that eliminate irritation, however sensitive your skin. They are built to last, with an antioxidant frame and a spring hinge – the frame is said to be “unbreakable”, which guarantees they will serve you for many years.
We love the style of these classy-looking glasses, and we particularly like the fact that they are available in a number of different color options, all of which are highly attractive. This is another pair of glasses that is perfect for driving, but that will also help you stand out in a crowd.
5. DUCO Mens Sports Polarized Sunglasses
If you are looking for a pair of high-performance driving glasses that also look great, you might want to check out this model from Duco. They are sports-style glasses for men that are available in a wide range of colors, meaning there is certain to be an version you like.
The lenses measure 40mm x 61mm, creating a wrap-around shape that offers maximum protection for your eyes. The lenses are rated UV400 and filter out all UVA and UVB sunlight, ensuring your eyes will not be damaged by the sun’s rays.
The lenses themselves are TAC polarized triacetate, designed to reduce glare from the sun and reflections so you don’t become dazzled. The lenses are scratch resistant, and the frames are lightweight yet durable, meaning you are unlikely to need to replace them too quickly.
We appreciate the combination of functionality and fashion. These glasses are designed to do the job of keeping the sun out of your eyes and reduce glare – but at the same time, the designers have taken care to create a pair of glasses with elegance and style. Definitely worth investigating.
6. ATTCL Men’s Hot Retro Driving Polarized Sunglasses
This is another pair of classic-look retro-style glasses, this time from ATTCL, that could be another perfect choice for driving glasses – as well as for many other uses. They are available in several different colors, so you can find the pair that truly matches your look.
These imported glasses are extremely comfortable and lightweight – at only 20g, after you have been wearing them for only a few minutes, you will completely forget they are there. The lens width is 58mm and the frame is constructed from a tough aluminum-magnesium alloy for toughness.
The lenses are just what you need for driving in the sun. They are rated UV400 and block all harmful UVA and UVB rays. They are polarized to filter our glare and scattered light from the road or bodies of water while allowing you to see natural true color with clear vision.
For us, the big positives with these glasses are the comfort, the style and the performance. They do a fantastic job of reducing the dazzling effects of light while driving, but they also look great. They are perfect for driving, but could also double up for fishing, running or even skiing.
7. Polarspex Polarized 80’s Retro Classic Trendy Stylish Sunglasses
These old-school retro 80s look sunglasses are designed for both men and women and would be an excellent choice to slip in your glovebox in case you need to drive in the sun. However, they could equally be bought as a pair of smart-looking everyday glasses for general use.
They consist of plastic frames and plastic lenses but are nevertheless built for durability – they include reinforced metal hinges to help ensure they will stand up to a certain level of rough treatment. They are available in a range of different colors, allowing you to choose a pair you love.
Although they look great, the most important feature is how well they protect your eyes. They offer 100% resistance to damaging UVA and UVB rays and feature TAC polarized anti-glare lenses that eliminate the dazzling effect of sun and scattered light – making them a reliable choice for the road.
These are a great pair of inexpensive, lightweight and reliable sunglasses that are perfect for driving. The unisex style means they are suitable for anyone – they are also quite small in size, meaning they would work equally well for teenage boys or girls.
Overall, a solid choice of glasses for any use – and great-looking too.
8. Sinuoda Polarized Sunglasses for Men
If you are looking for a simple and functional pair of sunglasses for driving that exude a sense of understated elegance, these polarized glasses for men from Sinuoda could be just the thing. They would be a good choice for driving, but also for outdoor pursuits – or even just general daily use.
The lenses are rated UV400, offering full protection against UVA, UVB and UVC rays and giving you peace of mind that your eyes are well-protected.
The TAC polarized lenses do an excellent job of reducing glare and eliminating the effects of scattered light, meaning you will always have the best view of the road, even in the most dazzling conditions.
These glasses feature a comfortable, ergonomic design with soft nose pads intended for irritation-free wearing. The legs also feature an anti-slip design to ensure they stay in place.
With these glasses, what we approve of most is the simplicity. They are available in several different colors, but all of them are understated and classy. They also do a great job of keeping the sun out of your eyes and reducing glare, making them another recommended pair of driving glasses.
9. J+S Premium Military Style Classic Aviator Sunglasses
These aviator-style glasses are available in two different lens sizes and two different shapes – as well as a whole range of different colors. This means these are a great choice for the fashion-conscious driver who wants to look good behind the wheel while staying safe on the road.
The lenses themselves are rated UV400, meaning they keep out 99-100% of harmful UVA and UVB, protecting your eyes against permanent damage. They are fully polarized, with vertically-oriented light filters to effectively block 99.96% of glare, giving you optimal vision for driving.
The lenses are also tough, lightweight and scratch resistant – ensuring you will still be wearing them for a long time to come. The frame is made of lightweight but ultra-durable metal alloy that ensures they will last a long time. They also include a one-year warranty just in case anything goes wrong.
We love the range of options available with these glasses – but along with this, we also appreciate the high levels of performance. These are a great-looking pair of glasses that will also do a great job of protecting your eyes and reducing glare to keep you safe on the road.
10. Soxick Night Driving Polarized Glasses
These glasses are actually not designed for driving in the sun at all, but we decided to include them too since they can reduce another type of glare – the glare from headlights at night.
When driving at night, other cars can dazzle you just as much as the bright sun can during the day, and these glasses are designed to protect you from this. They are also useful when driving on cloudy or rainy days since they give you increased color perception compared to the naked eye.
These polarized glasses are designed specifically for driving. You probably wouldn’t want to wear them while out and about during the day, but for night driving, they perform admirably. However, they do feature UV400-rated lenses, meaning they will also protect from UVA and UVB rays.
They are well-designed, stylish-looking and comfortable to wear. We like the gold color and the wrap-around fit. They are fully adjustable, making them suitable for most face shapes – and are also unisex, meaning that they are an equally suitable choice for both men and women.
While these are probably not the best glasses for driving at sunrise or sunset, they would be an excellent option for someone who often drives at night and who is looking for a solution to protect their eyes from the glare of other cars’ headlights.
7 top tips for driving with bright sun
If you have to drive in bright sunlight, whether early in the morning or in the afternoon as the sun goes down, there are several things you can do to make your journey safer and more comfortable. Here are our top tips for how to do it.
1. Wear polarized sunglasses
We’ve just reviewed ten pairs of polarized sunglasses, and wearing a pair really is the best thing you can do if you have to drive in the sun.
Polarized glasses filter out glare and light reflected from horizontal surfaces while letting other light through. This prevents you from being dazzled while also improving your perception of color.
Investing in a good pair of polarized sunglasses is highly recommended for all drivers, especially those who often drive in bright sunlight.
2. Use your visor
Almost all vehicles have a sun visor and for good reason. When the sun rises or sets, the low sun angles the light right into your eyes, and by using the sun visor, you can block the glare while still having a good view of the road.
3. Make sure your windscreen is clean
You might not notice how dirty your windscreen is in normal driving conditions, but in bright sunlight, suddenly all of the marks and dirt will become visible, severely reducing your visibility.
For this reason, it is important to always keep your windscreen clean, both inside and out. You can simply wash it with water and a soft brush – but if your windscreen is particularly dirty, you should use a dedicated windscreen cleaning product.
The same is true for your windows.
4. Consider having your windows tinted
If you drive a lot or often have to drive in dazzling conditions, you might consider having your windows tinted. This can be done professionally at a local garage for only a few hundred dollars.
Be sure to check out your local laws before you do it – some states have regulations concerning overly darkened windows.
5. Be aware of poor conditions for other drivers
Be aware that in dazzling conditions, other drivers might also have reduced visibility. This means you should be especially cautious and practice defensive driving, being sure to leave plenty of space between you and the next vehicle.
6. Don’t keep papers on the dashboard
Make sure your dashboard is clear of papers and other items. When the sun goes down or rises, the light will reflect off the paper into the windscreen, reducing your visibility and making it difficult to see the road.
7. Consider stopping or waiting to drive
Sunset and sunrise only last for a short time. If you are not in a hurry or you don’t have a tight schedule, simply consider waiting until the sun has fully set or risen before driving. Try to plan your journeys to avoid driving at these times of day.
If you find yourself driving into bright sunlight unexpectedly and your vision is seriously impaired, don’t be afraid to pull over somewhere safe to wait until the light changes. As we mentioned, these dazzling conditions are only short-lived, and you won’t have to wait too long.
Stay safe – and wear the correct eyewear
Driving in bright sunlight is an often-underestimated danger but being dazzled by the sun’s rays can seriously impair your ability to see. The best way to combat this is to wear polarized sunglasses, and this has the added benefit of protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays too.