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The best sunglasses for driving

Eliška Malinová

Medically reviewed by Eliška Malinová, Optometrist, on 23 Jun 2021
Written by Maria Chiara Tarsia

Is it dangerous to drive in bright, sunny weather without sunglasses on? That's a question we hear a lot, especially when summer approaches. Truth is, sunglasses are a welcome driving companion throughout the year - and here's why.

In fact, not only will they protect your eyes from the dangerous UV rays, but also your own safety by reducing undesired glare and shielding your eyes from dust and wind.

So: wearing sunglasses for driving in daylight is a healthy habit that can help prevent both the risk of eye damage and the risk of car accidents.

For all these reasons, it's majorly important to know how to choose the proper pair of sunglasses to use behind the wheel.

What do I need to know about driving sunglasses?

There are a few key features that you should look for when searching for the perfect driving sunglasses.

Let's explore these features in-depth to learn how to choose properly.

What is the best filter type for driving sunglasses?

First of all, let's talk about UV protection. To achieve maximum protection, the lenses fitted on your sunglasses should have a UV400 filter, which provides a complete shield against harmful radiation. All the sunglasses available on Lentiamo are equipped with a high-quality UV400 filter.

There are four filter types available for sunglasses:

Filter type Glass shade Utilisation
0 3 – 20% Offers the least protection. Usually not enough to prevent glare while driving.
1 20 – 57% For partly cloudy days. Suitable for driving.
2 57 – 82% For normal summer days. Suitable for driving.
3 82 – 92% Offers advanced protection. Suitable for driving.
4 92 – 97% Particularly strong protection, suitable for high mountains. Forbidden in road traffic. These are marked with the symbol of a crossed-out car.

Remember: the filter category number is always printed on the frame of your glasses, but only those with a genuine CE marking can guarantee these minimum standards.

What tint should driving sunglasses have?

And now, let's talk about the tint. Sunglasses with brown, dark green or grey lenses are the most suitable for driving, as they offer an excellent performance in all weather conditions and improve contrast and visual acuity without compromising our colour perception.

Photochromic lenses are not recommended (although many people regularly use them for driving) because they might not darken enough inside the vehicle. Mirrored lenses are also not recommended because they might minimise contrasts excessively, leading to miscalculations on the road.

Ready to start looking for your next pair of sunglasses?

Hundreds of top quality sunglasses are waiting for you at Lentiamo.

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What is the best shape for driving sunglasses?

This might surprise you: sunglasses design matters, when it comes to driving - And not only for fashion reasons (although we also want to look good on the road, no harm in that!).

It is however a matter of safety, rather than aesthetics. Up to 60% of UV rays can reach your eyes from the sides of your sunglasses or from above. While driving, this can also represent an element of distraction or discomfort. Therefore, opt for larger lenses or for a wider frame that can "envelop" properly the delicate area around your eyes.

Good news: oversized sunglasses and mask sunglasses are again a trend and they are here to stay! This means you will be treated with plenty of models to choose from.

Drive safely and comfortably with sunglasses that really fit

Thus, the perfect driving sunglasses should be all about protection, but also comfort. This is why our opticians at Lentiamo recommend - after finding the right glasses size for your face - to prefer lightweight frames, especially if you are on the road for hours. If your sunglasses have nosepads, adjust them accordingly so they won't slip nor pinch.

Last but not least, your driving sunglasses should have thin arms in order to avoid obstructions in your peripheral vision.

So, which sunglasses are best for driving?

Here's our top 3 driving sunglasses picks. Larger and lighter frames, like the ones we will show you below, will grant you comfort and protection against sun rays and glare, all around the eye area - plus a flawless style, of course!

Are polarised sunglasses good for driving?

Polarising (or polarised) lenses behind the wheel have their pros and cons. They represent a fit choice for drivers because they reduce glare and light reflection (which could be a key feature in case of wet surfaces or snow on the road, or even glass panels while driving through the city).

On the other hand, they can also dramatically dim digital and LCD screens. Thus, if you are going to use your GPS navigator for a trip or if your car has a modern digital dashboard, you might want to wear non-polarised sunglasses.

The choice is up to you then, depending on your route, your car and your driving habits.

Popular polarised glasses for driving

Is driving with sunglasses illegal?

In the UK it is legal to wear most sunglasses while driving. Finding out which shades are suitable is pretty easy: just have a look at the filter category stated on your frame or in the description box of our e-shop. Filter categories 1, 2, and 3 can be used for driving during daylight hours, but they should not be used in poor light conditions.

Filter category 4 is not suitable for driving and thus illegal behind the wheel. Driving sunglasses with filter categories 2 or 3 will also allow you to tackle entering end exiting a tunnel without issues, as they will "cushion" the abrupt transition from light to semi-darkness and viceversa, by mitigating the risk of being dazzled when exiting the tunnel.

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