At Eyewear Accessories we often get asked for advice on which clip on sunglasses are best for driving. Here we explain the factors you should consider in deciding which type of clip ons to buy.
Are clip on sunglasses better than prescription sunglasses for driving?
First it's worth addressing the question of whether prescription sunglasses or clip on sunglasses are better for driving.
While prescription sunglasses are a nice to have item, they can represent a formidable cost if you wear varifocal lenses and wish to have your sunglasses polarised.
Aside of the cost issue, prescription sunglasses are a far less convenient and flexible an option than clip on sunglasses.
With prescription sunglasses you either choose a fixed tint or photochromic lenses.
The fixed tint may be suited to driving in certain light conditions, such as those prevalent in summer, but may be too dark to be appropriate for autumn and winter driving.
And if you have gone down the route of prescription sunglasses, you have to take them and your ordinary glasses around with you, which is inconvenient.
If you go down the photochromic route for prescription sunglasses, the lenses are unlikely to react when you are in the car because the windscreen blocks the UV.
Many people who have purchased light-reactive lenses come to us to get clip on sunglasses when they discover that their all singing, all dancing lenses are actually useless for driving.
In comparison to prescription sunglasses, clip on sunglasses present a far less expensive, more convenient and flexible, and safer solution, as we explain below.
Choose different colour clip on lenses depending on the season
Driving in different seasons presents the driver with a range of challenges as regards prevailing light conditions.
In summer you often experience periods of very intense sunlight, and in these conditions, the polarised grey or brown clip on lenses are recommended as they are the darkest tints and also most effective at cutting out severe glare.
Spring and Autumn
In spring and autumn you will normally experience a lower intensity of sunlight, but additionally there is the problem of driving with low angle sun as it approaches winter time.
For autumn driving conditions, copper lenses are preferable. They are lighter than the grey or brown lenses, making them suitable for wearing in moderate sunshine. The copper colour also increases your perception of contrast and definition.
In winter time, you may encounter conditions of poor visibility, such as when it is misty or when cloud cover is extensive and the sun is low in the sky. In these conditions, the yellow colour lenses will enhance your vision. Only use them for daytime driving.
The most serious visual hazard at night is the glare from oncoming headlights. The safest and most effective clip on lenses for blocking headlight glare are ones with an anti-glare coating and blue light filter lenses.
Choose quality polarised lenses
We cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is for the motorist to buy clip on sunglasses with good quality polarised lenses.
Polarisation of the lenses is designed to cut out low angle and reflected glare, so you don't get dazzled by the sun shining on bright and reflective surfaces such as the bonnets of other cars.
However, it is important to be aware that not all polarised lenses are equal. Cheap clip on sunglasses often provide a poor standard of polarisation, so the lens actually blocks far less glare than you expect.
Always buy clip on sunglasses that are described as "optical quality" which means that the polarised horizontal axis is never compromised for maximum visual comfort.
Looking through optical quality polarised lenses will significantly increase your driving comfort because the glare reduction is much more effective.
Why flip up sunglasses are the safest for driving
While flip up sunglasses may not be the coolest thing to wear about town, for driving they lead the field in convenience and safety.
The ability to flip up the lenses when you enter a darker area, maybe a forest or a tunnel, makes them the safest type of clip on sunglasses for driving.
At Eyewear Accessories, we use flip ups when driving, and the more sophisticated-looking spring fit clip on sunglasses when we are walking, cycling, or just enjoying the outdoors.
Click this link if you want to find out more about wearing clip on sunglasses for driving.