Sunglasses aren’t just a stylish accessory to make you look cool. Most guys will grab their favorite shades before hitting the road without even realizing the practical purpose they serve.

Sunglasses not only help to protect the eyes from dangerous UV rays, but they also help to improve visibility. Whether you’re driving in a rural area or a busy city freeway, what you can and cannot see makes all the difference in the way you drive.

Squinting and shielding from the sun aren’t the only concerns. Glare from a windshield is a major cause of traffic accidents around the world. While the windshield provides great protection from wind and debris, the curved glass can produce incredibly bright glares and reflections that cause more trouble than the bright sun in the sky.

A great pair of driving sunglasses can help reduce glare and other visibility issues. Shades block out particular colors in the light spectrum, making the road look clearer than ever before. Some sunglasses are even capable of manipulating your vision to ensure that everything looks crisp and clear.

That being said, not every pair of sunglasses are made the same. Cheap sunglasses made for style rather than function will do more harm than good. Even expensive designer shades aren’t guaranteed to improve your vision.

Things to Consider

Before going out and picking up the coolest looking sunglasses you can find, there are a few things to consider. If you plan on using these shades while driving, a normal pair of sunglasses just won’t do. There are a few different factors and design features to look out for. These features will improve vision and make the sunglasses suitable for driving.

Color of the Lenses

While most don’t realize it, the color of the lenses can dramatically affect how you see certain colors. It can also affect how intense these colors appear and change the overall contrast of the road. While driving, the way colors appear is important. Not all colors are fit for driving, as road markers, signs, and traffic lights can appear different.

Generally, brighter colors such as reds and blues, aren’t a good idea for driving. They will alter the appearance of traffic lights, which could be hazardous. Neutral colors, such as blacks and browns, are the way to go. They don’t change how certain colors appear, making them a good fit. Other colors, such as yellows and oranges, may be a great choice if designed correctly. These colors can enhance contrast and make features on the road appear more detailed.

Gradient lenses are another thing to consider. Some sunglasses may have varying intensities of colors on different parts of the lens or multiple colors entirely. This can change how parts of the sightline are affected. With driving, this could be advantageous.

Tint Level

The darkness of the lenses can change the way things appear on the road. By law, manufacturers must provide information about the tint density on the lenses.

This can help drivers determine if the sunglasses are suitable for driving. Tint levels fall into separate classifications based on how much light they let through.

Class 0 lenses have the highest light transmission, allowing anywhere between 80 and 100 percent of light to pass through. They are generally considered to be clear lenses. The class with the lowest light transmission is class 4. Class 4 lenses only allow between 3 and 8 percent of light to pass through, making them unfit for driving even on the brightest day. Guys should choose tint level accordingly.

Photochromic Lenses

Photochromic lenses, also called variable tint lenses, change the tint level based on the lighting conditions. While these are great for everyday wear, they are generally considered to be bad for driving. This is due to different lighting conditions within the car. Because the windshield blocks some UV rays, photochromic lenses will be darker or lighter than they need to be.

Polarized Lenses

One of the most important things to look for when finding a pair of sunglasses for driving is polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are specially treated to reduce glare and improve vision. They will reduce glare off of glass and wet surfaces. This helps to avoid eye strain and keeps the eyes protected at all times. Virtually any lens can be polarized regardless of their color or tint level. Most high-quality sunglasses are polarized, making them very accessible and easy to find.

Special Lens Coatings

In addition to being polarized, manufacturers may also have their own anti-glare coating. This will further reduce glare, making the sunglasses an even better fit for driving.

Anti-reflective coatings are another great thing to look for. They ensure that any reflections from the polished lenses aren’t irritating on the eyes. Reflections can be just as dangerous as glare, as they affect visibility. This coating cuts down on reflections to make wearing the shades incredibly comfortable. They also have the added benefit of making the lenses water and grease-proof.

All in all, not every pair of sunglasses are suited for driving. Driving sunglasses need to have a number of features to ensure that they improve vision rather than hinder it. With the right pair of shades, guys can hit the road with confidence. These sunglasses will make the road easier to watch and make any obstacles and details easier to see. They do this all while making you look cool in the process.