When you think of sunglasses, maybe your mind goes go straight to the beach (hey, we don’t blame you). As much as we love to believe that everyone lives on the beach, we use our sunglasses every day for a much more mundane task: driving.
According to an article by American Automobile Association (AAA), the average American spends about 17,600 minutes driving each year. That’s a lot of time. If you’re driving without sunglasses, not only do your eyes probably hate you at this point, but you also risk getting into an accident from glare. Already wear sunglasses? Well, they might not be the best for driving, either.
Why Your Sunglasses Might Be Bad for Driving
Blinding sunlight is no joke, which is why it’s important to keep a good pair of sunglasses in the car. The wrong pair of shades, on the other hand, can be hazardous behind the wheel. Here’s why some shades won’t cut it.
1. They’re too dark.
Sunglasses fall into one of five categories based on the percentage of light transmission. Clear lenses allow 80% – 100% of light through their lenses, while the darkest sunglasses may only allow 3% – 8%. The recommended amount of light transmission for driving sunglasses is between 18% – 43% of light. But don’t take our word for it — check out this chart for more information.
2. They’re not polarized.
Glare causes about 3,000 accidents each year,according to this article. Don’t be one of those accidents. Instead, try a pair of polarized sunglasses that help to reduce glare. If you’re not sure if your sunglasses are polarized, try this test. And if you don’t think glare is a big deal, think again.
3. They’re the wrong tint.
Not all sunglass tints are created equal. If blue, green, pink, or red tints are your go-to, then we have bad news for you: they’re horrible for driving. Although these tints are certainly stylish, they, unfortunately, distort important colors when driving. Like red lights.
The best sunglasses tints for driving are gray, brown, and copper-tinted lenses, which maintain color integrity.
4. They’re too bulky.
Peripheral vision can be blocked by sunglasses with thick temples. Save those hefty shades for the beach. On the flip side, sunglasses with thin temples are good for driving because they do not obscure vision.
The Best Driving Sunglasses
As mentioned above, one of the most important characteristics of driving sunglasses is the tint color of your lenses. Although gray and brown tints do not distort color, copper tints increase contrast, making them a better option for driving. If you’re looking for a crisp, clear view, we suggest finding a pair of shades with copper-tinted lenses. Below are a few of our favorites.