Choosing the safest sunglasses for driving
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It’s always a good idea to take a pair of sunglasses when you’re heading out on the road because you never know when sun-strike will occur.
Many drivers throw any old pair of glasses on without much thought (aside from how suave they’ll look ) but a few things are worth considering when choosing shades.
Sun-strike is caused when the angle of sunlight hitting a car’s windscreen creates a blinding glare. It can affect drivers at any time of year.
It’s not as simple as just picking up a pair of Ray-Bans and being done with it. Choosing the wrong sunglasses can have a negative effect. Some sunnies don’t let enough light enter, which impairs visibility. Others, such as the classic Elton John rose-tinted glass, can distort vision — which becomes a hazard.
Here are our tips for choosing the best sunglasses to enhance your driving experience.
When driving, it’s important to keep peripheral vision clear and protected from the sun. Oversized frames can obstruct peripheral vision, which makes it harder to see road hazards and increases the risk of a collision.
Our recommendation is having large lenses with slim arms — the classic aviator. Fun fact: aviator or “pilot’s glasses”, were originally developed in 1936 by Bausch & Lomb for pilots to protect their eyes while flying.
If you still want thicker arms, opt for some wraparound sunglasses. Their arms tend to be mounted further back, so peripheral vision is not reduced and eyes are still protected from the sun.
Choosing the wrong coloured lenses can impact how well a driver can see road signs and traffic lights, and spot potential hazards. Pink, blue and green lenses should generally NOT be worn while driving as they can make red lights indistinguishable.
Some of the best shades for driving are browns and greys because they don’t alter colours. Some glasses specifically designed for driving feature amber or yellowish tones which assist with definition and clarity.
Whichever colour lenses you opt for, tint density is important, and comes down to personal preference.
Density is scaled 0 (clear) to 4 (dark), and helps determine how much light passes through the lens and reaches your eyes.
Sun strike is serious
Crash analysis by the AA reveals there were 24 deaths from crashes involving sun-strike over the past five years.
From 2014 to 2018, 178 people were seriously injured and more than 700 had minor injuries.
AA road safety spokesman, Dylan Thomsen, says anticipating when sun-strike is likely to be an issue is the best way to prevent problems.
“Obviously, accidents will be less likely if motorists take the right measures to ensure they can see clearly.
“Good vision is essential to safe driving, as are simple things like keeping windscreens clean, using headlights during the day and keeping a good following distance,” he says.
Choosing the right sunglasses should be given more thought than the old “one size fits all” approach.
They may save your life one day.