There is one key feature that the best driving sunglasses all have and that is polarized lenses. I thought all sunglasses have polarized lenses until I bought a pair of driving sunglasses (No.205) that actually had polarized lenses. To say a whole new world had opened to me was an understatement.
Best Driving Sunglasses – Before & After
The top photo is how we see with the naked eye, the bottom is looking through a set of low cost, polarized driving sunglasses.
The Key Differences
In my opinion, theses are the key differences between the two photos.
The top of the dashboard is reflecting the sun into my eyes even in partial shade. The sun is also around 45 degrees to our right. The dash reflections will get worse as we drive into the sun.
Generally the situation is tiring on the eyes and short of flocking the dashboard there is no way to fix this problem without using the best driving sunglasses ie polarized.
With the polarized lenses of the driving sunglasses we can see the reflections off the dash have been damped right down. Arguably the dash is now reflecting about as much light as the a-pillar which is to say basically none.
What a total horror show. To show what an excellent job the windscreen does as a mirror, we can clearly see the air vents on the bottom of the glass.
Going up from this area we can see a lovely round area where light is being reflected off the instrument binnacle directly in our line of sight of the road.
And to cap it all, the top of the binnacle is convex meaning that regardless of the direction we are driving we get the dash reflected in exactly the same place, in our line of sight, all the time. Perfect……not.
Nothing. Nada. Zero. All the dash reflections in the windscreen have been completely and totally eliminated. The first time I saw this I realised that all the sunglasses I had been using until that point were not polarized at least not enough to be called “driving sunglasses”
The enhanced contrast of literally everything was amazing (and still is).
The silver car on the right for example, look how much clearer it is with the polarized driving sunglasses. The area just to the left of the car is crystal clear and the parked cars on the right of the road are so much easier to see. We can even see the green bush to the left of the silver car with the sunglasses.
The “before” photo above is not the greatest example of road reflections because we are not facing in the direction of the sun but I think it gives the hint of what it would be like if we were.
The road surface is super light in colour and we can see next to no detail on the road surface like bumps or undulations.
The reflections are damped right down. If there were bumps in this piece of road we would easily be able to see them with the polarized driving sunglasses.
We can see colours with the naked eye but they are very flat.
The colour of everything is enhanced, from the reds of the leaves about the car to the greens of the grass and the signage. Everything is so much sharper and clearer and in my opinion better.
Imagine driving when there is snow on the ground and the weather is sunny, the amount of light is almost unbearable and all of the problem points I made above are amplified. Fortunately, the benefits of polarized driving sunglasses is even greater the more blinding the light.
When there is a lot of spray being thrown up or if the day is misty I find that polarized sunglasses improve my vision even when the sun is not visible directly.
The improvement comes from the better contrast that the polarization gives. Where a car might blend into the spray, the polarization makes the outline of the car clearer.
Other drivers (who don’t understand the benefits of polarized sunglasses) may look at me funny for wearing sunglasses when there is no sun but I can live with that because I know I can see better with the sunglasses than without them.
Buying the Best Driving Sunglasses – What to look for
Are They Actually Polarized?
First of all check that the sunglasses you are looking at are actually polarized. This polarized sunglasses I use (No.205) come with a hologram picture in the box. When you are wearing the sunglasses you hold the hologram in front of you and rotate it, the pictures changes as you do so. You can actually check that the lenses are polarized.
If you are buying your driving sunglasses in a shop, see if they have something similar ie something which can demonstrate to you the polarization of the lenses. Like I said, I’ve bough sunglasses which claimed they were polarized before but weren’t.
I have tried mirrored lenses, you know the ones which are coloured eg Blue, Red, Green etc. I found that unless the reflections you were dealing with were absolutely crazy eg sailing on a sunny day, the mirrored lenses were far too dark. For sure you couldn’t use them on overcast days or in bad weather.
Personally I like lenses where you can just about see the outline of the person’s eyes who is wearing the sunglasses. With regards to colour, I like a brown tint, it seems to give everything a bit more contrast and enhances colours. You can also use them on overcast days.
Obviously get glasses that fit you comfortably and which do not fall off. If you have a set of sunglasses now which are the right size measure them and look for a similar size for the new sunglasses.
This is another key point for me. For too long I was wearing sunglasses that were to small for my face. This meant that the side of the frames of the sunglasses were interfering with the peripheral vision.
I want the edges of the sunglasses to be far enough away from my line of site that they do not normally impinge of the my field of vision. I don’t want the frame to be noticeable.
In a perfect world I would be using 200 Euro/Dollar plus sunglasses (which are polarized) but the reality is I don’t look after my sunglasses enough. I have them with me literally everywhere and I don’t want to be constantly worrying about them being scratched (I never use a case).
I want a pair of sunglasses that if and when they do get scratched, I can just get another pair. I also want at least one pair of unopened, brand new sunglasses in the house, ready and waiting as back up, for when the current set get trashed.
Maybe one day I can justify spending 200 dollars a month on sunglasses but at the moment I’m not there and to be honest I’m super satisfied with the glasses I have now and they cost a fraction of 200 dollars.
The Best Driving Sunglasses I Use
If you want to get the same sunglasses I use you can find them here, I use the No.205 model. (I say “best” because of the price:performance ratio, low cost, excellent performance).
They have a brown lens, they’re not too dark, can be used in bright sun and on overcast days and the price makes them disposable so no worrying about scratching them.