by Jamie Bartlett 7 min read

In the UK, we reportedly spend an average of three years of our lives behind the wheel.

That’s more than 10 hours a week, rain, snow or shine.

With so much time spent driving, it can largely influence your choice of spectacles and sunglasses. Heck, some people have designated eyewear, just for when they’re in the car.

Which conveniently brings us to the topic of the best polarised sunglasses for driving.

You’ll have probably seen or heard that polarised lenses are super-great for water sports, skiing and fishing.

Sounds promising.

But the chances are that you’re gonna wear them in the car to get yourself to your workplace than captain the helm of a 100ft yacht.

So today, you’re going to learn the benefits of polarised sunglasses and how they can improve your vision when you’re on the road.

 

Blue VW camper van driving along rural road

 

Is polarised lenses good for driving?

Winter or summer, driving on a bright sunny day can throw all kinds of problems at you.

The worst? Glare.

This is when sunlight bounces off the road or your bonnet (that’s "hood" if you’re American) into your eyes and makes it painfully difficult to see.

Needless to say, glare is extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening as your view of the road ahead becomes completely impaired.

Automatically, you’ll squint, drop your sun visor or curse under your breath as you’re momentarily blinded. On lengthy journeys, long term glare can give you a headache and can even lead to eye-damage.

But this is where polarised lenses can change the game for you.

How?

Because they can help to almost entirely diminish this reflected light due to how they work. If science is your thing, click here for some nitty-gritty details.

 

Polarised lenses are made in a sandwich-like construction that contains a chemical film called a polariser.
This polariser is what stops most of the horizontally polarised light from getting through your lens which vastly improves your visual clarity.

 

Non polarised sunglasses don’t have an in-built polariser, which is why they aren’t so good of filtering-out glare.

In the comparison below, you'll see the difference in glare which is leaking through the sunglasses lens.

These images depict the consistency of polarised lenses compared to regular ones. Even when there's a lot of glare being reflected towards you, most of the glare is entirely blocked out.

So yea, polarised lenses are pretty awesome. Especially for driving on a sunny day.

 

 

Comparison image showing the difference between polarised and non polarised sunglasses whilst driving

 

Choosing the best polarised sunglasses for driving

It's time for the main event.

In the bullets below, we've outlined five areas of criteria you should consider when looking for your perfect pair of driving sunglasses.

  1. UV Protection
  2. Frame size
  3. Cost
  4. Driving sunglasses UK law
  5. Style

 

1: UV Protection

Polarised or non-polarised, your sunglasses must provide sufficient UV light protection.

UV light is made up of a spectrum of varying electromagnetic frequencies measured in nanometers.

UVA and UVB are the most damaging frequencies within sunlight which can both cause serious damage to your skin and eyes.

Your sunglasses should block 99% of UV light in order to prevent your eyes from burning. Poorly made or black-market sunglasses can leave your eyes exposed which can lead to permanent eye damage and even blindness. 

You should check that prospective sunglasses you’d like to buy are rated with full UV protection to 400 nanometers. This will indicated in the specifications or via a UV400 label.

At Banton Frameworks, our sunglasses lenses are fully UVA and UVB protective.

 

 

Close view of the inside of a sunglasses sizing label

 

2: Frame size

The best polarised sunglasses for driving need to fit you properly.

Not only is this more comfortable but they’ll give you better protection for your eyes.

Poorly fitting sunglasses or spectacles can actually be a source of headaches if they create a pressure-point on your head. This can be adjusted after purchase, but it’s a good idea to get the right size in the first place.

Pro tip: Check your current pair for dimensions to give yourself a head start. This way you can shop around for the best size, based on your old sunglasses’ sizing.

These measurements are usually printed on the inside of the frame or temple which are written in the order of lens-width, bridge-width and temple length

Eg: 49 □ 21 145

If you’re a guy, here’s a handy article if you need sunglasses for a big head.

 

Man driving car on sunny day wearing sunglasses

 

3: Cost

Polarised sunglasses are often more expensive due to their premium lenses.

Based on our market research, polarised sunglasses frames can cost as much as 28% on average more than non-polarised versions.

Make sure that you’re investing in a good quality of frame and lenses, not just a brand label. High-fashion brands have been known to charge as much an extra 51% for the privilege of polarisation.

However...

At Banton Frameworks, all our sunglasses are fitted with polarised lenses as standard at no additional cost.

Just saying.

 

grey square polarised sunglasses

 

 

Blue VW magic bus parked in car park

 

4: Law

Yep, there’s such a thing as illegal sunglasses when it comes to driving.

This is due to the amount of light that sun lenses filter-out. For driving, this can be the difference between seeing the road properly, missing a traffic light or misreading a road-sign.

You get the picture.

Sunglasses lenses are categorised into 5 groups which are rated by their Visual Light Transmission (VLT.)

Ranging from category 0 to category 4, the amount of light let through becomes increasingly darker as less light is transmitted.

 



According to the AA: “Filter category 4 lenses only transmit between 3% and 8% of light and are not suitable for driving at any time. Sunglasses with these lenses should, by law, be labelled 'Not suitable for driving and road use'”.

 

To make sure your sunglasses are suitable for driving, you'll want to make sure they're legal and legitimate.

Anything less than a category 4 sun lens will keep you on the right side of the law and hopefully the right side of the road.

We'll just leave the category 4 sun lenses to the mountaineers, shall we?

Check out the table below for a quick guide to sun-lens categories.

 

Category

VLT

Sunlight

Driving suitability

0

80% – 100%

Overcast

Moderate 

1

43% – 80%

Low

 Day only

2

18% – 43%

Medium

 Day only

3

8% – 18%

Strong

 Day only

4

3% – 8%

Very strong

 Illegal

 

Our polarised lenses

At Banton Frameworks, all of our sunglasses are fitted with grey-tinted polarised lenses which are rated to category 3  with a transmittance of 11%.

You’ll also be glad to know that our lenses are UVA and UVB protective which make them suitable for driving your car during the day and for leisure use.

It’s inadvisable that you wear our polarised sunglasses at night for driving, as they transmit too little sunlight to let you see properly.

Who wears sunglasses at night anyway?

 

Woman driving blue car at sunset in a campsite

 

What colour polarised lenses are best for driving?

The colour of your sun lenses can marginally affect the way you perceive the road whilst driving.

Sun lenses are coloured using which is called a “fixed” or “variable” tint. Most commonly, polarised sunglasses use a fixed tint in brown, green, red, yellow or grey.

Different tints can yield slightly different viewing experiences due to the way they filter light through the lens.

 

Brown tinted lenses are good for high glare applications, usually for sports such as skiing, fishing or sailing. This is a good colour of lens for driving and helps to reduce glare from surrounding road reflections.

 

Green tinted lenses are a good as a multi-use colour. They are known to improve visual contrast in low light conditions and reduce the chances of eye strain in bright light.

 

Red tinted lenses are good for low light environments and is a popular choice of lens for cyclists. This tint can show contrasting objects against blue or green backgrounds.

 

Yellow tinted lenses are renowned for providing an excellent perception of depth. Whilst they are less common, this colour of tint are popular as hunting or archery sunglasses.

 

Grey tinted lenses provide a true colour perception which make them an exceptional lens colour for driving. Detecting traffic light colours and road signs is made easier by the lack of colour distortion which makes them the best sunglasses for truck drivers and other industrial occupations.

 

The best colour sunglasses for driving use lenses that are going to improve your vision, not impair it. Despite their varying properties, coloured tints for polarised lenses are more of a personal preference.

Based on the criteria above, we’d recommend a grey tint for driving purposes thanks to their true colour perception.

 

polarised tortoise shell sunglasses

 

Blonde female at festival wearing orange jumper and sunglasses facing viewer

 

5: Style

Chances are, you’ll be wearing your sunglasses in and out of your car.

Everybody does…

Which means you’ll want to look fashionable rather than a Himalayan Sherpa who’s just come back from the Everest climbing-season.

To choose the right shape and style of sunglasses, your best bet is to determine your face shape and work from there.

 

  • Round face = square sunglasses
  • Square faces = big curvy sunglasses
  • Narrow face = round sunglasses

 

To find the best polarised sunglasses for driving that suits your face shape, you should check out this free PDF guide.

It’s easy to use, it’s free and should help you make a better choice of sunglasses shape.

 

Struggle to find sunglasses that suit you?

PDF-guide-to-help-you-find-sunglasses-that-suit-you
Download this guide to find the perfect sunglasses for your face shape.

 

     

    What sunglasses have the best polarised lenses?

    To wrap this whole thing up, polarised sunglasses are evidently a great choice for driving sunglasses.

    Compared to non-polarised lenses, they’re simply more efficient at reducing the glare from the road surface, nearby cars or anything that happens to be shiny.

    Investing in this superior lens-type, you’ll want the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to getting the best type of polarised lenses.

    Which is why our British sunglasses are fitted with premium polarised lenses as standard.

    As of summer 2019, we made the move from non-polarised lenses to give you the best quality of sunglasses frame that’s been made here in the UK.

     

    square black polarised aviator sunglasses

     

     



    Jamie Bartlett: co-founder  | If you’re looking for the best polarised sunglasses for driving, I hope this article has been genuinely useful towards your sunglasses search.

    If you could hit the social share buttons at the foot of this page, I’d really appreciate it.

    Don’t forget to download your free sunglasses style guide.

    Thanks for reading.

     

     

    Jamie Bartlett
    Jamie Bartlett

    Co-founder of Banton Frameworks.



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