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What kind of sunglasses are good for driving?

When it comes to driving, having the right pair of sunglasses can make a big difference in comfort and safety. Sunglasses help protect your eyes from glare and UV rays, while allowing you to see the road clearly. But not all sunglasses are created equal when it comes to driving. The right pair should optimize visibility, cut glare, and enhance contrast. Here’s what to look for when choosing sunglasses for driving.

Reduce Glare

Glare refers to any bright, intense light that can make it difficult to see. It often occurs when sunlight reflects off surfaces like cars, buildings, and the road. Glare while driving can be blinding and dangerous. It can obscure your view of the road and other vehicles. The right sunglasses will help cut down on glare so you can see more clearly.

Look for sunglasses that offer:

  • Polarized lenses – Polarized lenses are specially designed to block intense reflected light. They cut glare coming off cars, water, and other flat surfaces.
  • Anti-reflective coating – An anti-reflective coating on the lenses can further reduce glare and eye fatigue.
  • Large lenses – Larger lenses provide more coverage and protection from peripheral glare.

Enhance Contrast

When driving, it’s important to be able to differentiate objects from their background. You need to clearly see the edges of the road, lane markers, other vehicles, pedestrians, etc. Sunglasses that enhance contrast make these details easier to distinguish.

To enhance contrast, look for sunglasses with:

  • Gray lenses – Gray lenses increase contrast by preventing color distortion. This makes objects appear more defined.
  • Mirrored coating – A mirrored coating rebounds glare away from the eyes while allowing you to see ahead. This amplifies contrast.
  • Photochromic lenses – Photochromic (transition) lenses automatically darken when exposed to UV light. This adjusts contrast in changing light conditions.

Optimize Visibility

Good driving sunglasses maximize what you can see on the road. Features like color tint, darkness level, and lens material all impact visibility.

Here are some guidelines for lenses:

  • Lens tint – Brown and gray tints distort color less than blue or purple hues. Amber tints can actually enhance contrast in low light.
  • Darkness level – Very dark lenses are not ideal for driving. Look for sunglasses with a lighter transmission level around 30-50%.
  • Lens material – Polycarbonate lenses are impact-resistant and often thinner/lighter than plastic or glass.

You also want to ensure the frames and lenses are optically decentered. This means they are aligned to minimize distortion and maximize clarity.

Match Your Needs

Consider your specific driving needs and conditions when selecting sunglasses. Here are some common considerations:

  • Lots of night driving – Go for yellow lenses to cut glare and increase contrast in low light.
  • Frequent driving in the dark – Clear lenses that block UV/glare without darkening visibility are best.
  • Driving in very sunny locales – More shade and polarization is ideal for cutting intense glare.
  • Bothered by high-beam headlights – Mirrored lenses can help deflect oncoming headlight glare at night.

Prescription Compatible

If you require corrective lenses, look for driving sunglasses that can accommodate your prescription. Most manufacturers offer models with removable prescription inserts. There are also prescription sunglasses custom designed for driving. Talk to your eye doctor about prescription sunglasses optimized for time on the road.

Top Picks

Based on the criteria above, here are some top-rated driving sunglasses to consider:

Brand Model Key Features
Maui Jim Peahi – Polarized lenses
– Anti-reflective coating
– Neutral gray tint for true color
Ray-Ban Aviator – Mirrored coating
– Metal frames
– Classic style
Oakley Flak 2.0 XL – Prizm lens technology
– Optimized peripheral vision
– Impact/UV protection
Costa Del Mar Blackfin – Polarized polycarbonate lenses
– Lightweight frames
– Scratch/impact resistant

Other Considerations

Along with lens features, also look at frame style, fit, and comfort when selecting driving sunglasses:

  • Frame style – Consider wrap-around styles that block peripheral light and prevent eye fatigue.
  • Fit – Make sure the sunglasses sit close to the face to maximize clarity and minimize glare coming in from the sides.
  • Comfort – Look for adjustable rubber nose pads, flexible frames, and lightweight materials for comfortable wear.
  • Durability – Driving sunglasses take a lot of wear and tear. Find sturdy frames and impact/scratch resistant lenses.


Investing in a good pair of driving sunglasses pays dividends when it comes to safety and comfort behind the wheel. Look for polarized lenses to reduce glare along with features that enhance contrast and visibility. Consider specialized coatings and tints to match your driving needs. Lightweight, durable materials and proper fit also matter. With the right sunglasses, you can cut through glare and see the road ahead clearly.