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The Best Sunglasses for Driving for Men and Women

Is there anything quite like driving down the highway in the peak of summer with the windows down? Whether you’re on an epic road trip or simply trying to make each drive to the grocery store an adventure, driving doesn’t have to be boring.

While you’re on the road, there are many things you can do to make sure your drive is as safe as it is fun — and one of those things is wearing sunglasses. Read on to find out why you should wear sunglasses while driving, what to look for in a pair of driving sunglasses, and our top picks.

Why Should You Wear Sunglasses While Driving?

You might be used to wearing sunglasses at the beach or while snowboarding, but did you know that wearing sunglasses while driving is actually crucial? It’s more than just a trendy fashion choice — it’s a matter of safety, too. Here are the top reasons why you should wear sunglasses while driving.

Provides UV Protection

The sun produces UV rays, which means that any time you’re exposed to sunlight, you’re also exposed to UV rays. There are three types of UV rays the sun produces: UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. UVA rays are responsible for signs of aging and can easily pass through your eyes.

UVB rays are more associated with sunburns, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t harmful to your eyes, too. Finally, UVC rays are the highest energy UV rays, which means they can also do the most damage.

UV radiation is associated with the following eye concerns:

  • Cataracts: This describes a cloudy appearance on the eye’s lens, which can affect the way we see light.
  • Macular Degeneration: UV exposure can cause damage to the retina, which is what causes this disease.
  • Photokeratitis: Also called snow blindness, this happens when you are exposed to high amounts of UVB rays for a short time.

You can’t exactly put sunscreen in your eyes, but you can buy sunglasses that provide UV protection in order to minimize your exposure. Also, since the sun emits UV radiation all year long, it’s important to wear sunglasses all year long as well.

Minimizes Glare

Have you ever been blinded by the sun’s glare off the car in front of you? Maybe you’ve experienced the glare issue at the beach, while on a boat, or even while snowboarding. If you buy the right sunglasses, they can actually help with this!

Polarized sunglasses are made in such a way that they minimize this glare (more on polarization later). This is key because not only can glare make it hard to see, but glare can also damage your eyes and cause eye strain. Plus, if you have glare sensitivity, glare can actually cause temporary blindness, which isn’t exactly a recipe for safe driving.

Helps You See Better

Besides just minimizing glare, sunglasses can lower the amount of light that reaches your eyes overall. This can help you stop squinting and focus more on the road in front of you. This can also help you see more fine details, such as road lines, signage, brake lights, and potential hazards.

Plus, because you aren’t squinting as much, your eyes may feel much less strained. Overall, having a pair of sunnies ready to go when you’re driving is just as much a safety decision as putting on your seatbelt or using your turn signal.

5 Best Driving Sunglasses

When it comes to driving sunglasses, we know that there are a few technical factors that are most important — for instance, polarization and UV protection. However, it’s also important to consider the aesthetics. Here are our favorite frames here at Pair Eyewear that have the best of both worlds!

The Drew

This extra-wide frame is the perfect blend of sleek modernism and spunk. With its rectangle shape and durable build, The Drew is a great match for anyone who has an oval, round, or triangle-shaped face. Opt for black frames with green lenses for a look that is truly timeless.

The Jessie

The Jessie is a modified rectangle frame that effortlessly blends vintage and modern aesthetics. The frame fits wide, making it a great option for driving sunglasses, and it’s made out of super-durable acetate (as are all of our frames). We love the blue tortoise frames with green lenses for an extra-vintage vibe.

The Harper

The Harper is our favorite way to incorporate a little bit of retro glam into our day. These frames are like a cross between a rectangular build and a cat-eye, making them ultra-versatile and super trendy. This wide frame looks great on oval, round, heart, diamond, or triangle-shaped faces. We recommend getting the clear pink frame with brown lenses to embrace the retro spirit.

The Quinn

This is another one of our modified cat-eye frames, although it leans a little more into the rounded, soft cat-eye look than The Harper. The Quinn’s extra-wide frame looks great on anyone with an oval, round, heart, diamond, or triangle-shaped face. Plus, like all of our sunnies, it comes with UV protection and polarized lenses. Try it out for yourself with a black frame and reflective pink lenses.

The Murphy

Oversized square glasses are making a comeback, so you know we had to join in the fun with The Murphy. This square frame adds an oversized feel, and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate vintage fashion with a modern twist. This extra-wide frame looks great on anyone with an oval, heart, oblong, or triangle-shaped face, especially in a tortoise-colored frame with black lenses.

What To Look For in Driving Sunglasses

The path to perfect sunglasses isn’t always a smooth ride. When you’re choosing a pair of driving sunglasses, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.


We touched on this before, but it’s so important that we’ll go a little deeper. Polarized lenses are designed to keep glare to a minimum so that you can drive without being blinded by the road or the cars in front of you.

This works by outfitting the lenses with a filter that only allows vertical light to pass through. When the sun hits a flat surface like water, snow, asphalt, or other cars, it bounces off with both vertical and horizontal waves — this disconnect is what causes glare in the first place. Polarized lenses filter out these horizontal waves.

Not all glasses have polarized lenses, though. Because of this, it’s important to make sure any glasses you buy are made with polarized lenses.

UV Protection

You might remember this one from the top of the article, but it bears repeating. The long-term effects of not wearing sunglasses with UV protection can be serious — especially when you’re exposed to as much light as you are while driving.

UVB rays (the ones that cause sunburn) can’t pass through windows, so you probably won’t get a sunburn while you’re driving. Unfortunately, UVA rays are long enough to pass through windows. This means that you can experience the harmful effects of UVA exposure while driving and you might not have the visible evidence to prove it.

At Pair Eyewear, our lenses are all treated to provide UVA and UVB protection so that your eyes can stay safe — even while driving.

Reflective Lenses

Some pairs of sunglasses feature reflective lenses. These lenses are treated with a reflective coating that bounces light off of them.

While you might think that getting reflective lenses is an aesthetic choice, it can actually help you see better on the road. Because these lenses reflect light, they also let in less light than their non-reflective counterparts, which can further help manage glare and brightness.

Prescription Lenses

If you need eyeglasses to see, you’re probably less concerned with polarization and UV protection and more concerned with how to get your prescription in your sunglasses. The good news is that your optometrist can fit you with a pair of sunglasses and add your prescription to the lenses.

If you don’t fancy a trip to the doctor, you can also add your prescription to your sunnies at Pair Eyewear. After you customize your frames and lenses, you can select an option to have us add your prescription to the lenses. When our glasses show up on your doorstep, they have everything you’ll need to start the adventures.

Lens Color

With all of the colors that sunglasses are available in, you might be surprised to learn that this customization option isn’t only about looks. The color of your lenses can also influence how much you’re able to see through your glasses.

For instance, amber, grey, and yellow glasses can help increase contrast and help you see more detail. On the other hand, pink, blue, and green lenses can make it hard to see red lights. The only exception is sunglasses that are labeled safe for driving, since they’re made to increase visibility.

Tint Density

After color, the next important factor is tint density. This basically refers to how dark the tint is on your sunglasses lenses. This can range from zero percent, or completely transparent, to 100 percent, which is too dark to drive with during the day or night. The level of tint density is part of what determines how much light gets through the lenses to your eyes.

While you can find glasses that have solid tints, you can also find sunglasses that feature gradient tints. These often have darker tints at the top of the lenses that gradually fade to lighter tints at the bottom of the lenses. Gradient lenses can be better for driving, since they allow you to see your dashboard more easily than solid-tint lenses.

Frame Shape and Size

There are many technical things to consider when buying sunglasses, but it’s important not to forget about the aesthetics, too. After all, you’ll wear these quite a bit, and your sunnies will likely be a part of your outfit whenever you spend extended time outside.

Make sure you consider elements like frame shape and size when you pick out sunglasses. While you might be tempted to get sunglasses that fit the same as your regular eyeglasses, keep in mind that larger sunglasses can help protect your peripheral vision from glare as well.


When your outfits and moods change every day, so should your accessories. Many people accept that their sunglasses won’t change along with their aesthetic, but you don’t have to.

With Pair Eyewear, you can have a different set of sunnies for each day of the week without ever having to change frames.

Our system starts with a base frame like one of the five we listed above. This is where you’ll choose the shape and size of your frame, as well as the color of your lenses.

Once you have your base frame picked out, you’ll move on to our top frames. These are thin decorative covers that snap onto the face of your base frame with magnets. We offer top frame options for every aesthetic, with solids and classic patterns like woodgrain all the way to crazy patterns and graphic art.

When Not To Wear Sunglasses While Driving

We mentioned before that you should always wear sunglasses while driving, but there are a few exceptions to this rule. Here’s when not to wear sunglasses while driving.

At Night

When it’s dark outside, there’s very little light getting to your eyes in the first place. Wearing sunglasses at night would further limit how much you’re able to see, which is very dangerous when you’re on the road. Instead, opt for some eyeglasses with anti-glare treatment.

When There’s Ice

When there’s ice on the road, your visual field can get very bright, very fast. You might be tempted to put on a pair of sunglasses to help combat the glare, but it’s very important that you check what type of sunnies you’re using.

If you have sunglasses with polarized lenses, they might actually block glare from the ice. Since glare is often the first sign that there’s ice on the road, this could lead to you missing the presence of the ice entirely. Non-polarized lenses should work fine in these conditions since it’s still important to keep the brightness out of your eyes.

If You Use a Heads-Up Dashboard

If you drive a newer car, you might have a heads-up dashboard display. These displays superimpose important driving details over your windshield, such as your current speed, gas gauge, RPM meter, current time, and outside weather.

These displays work by harnessing horizontal light that reflects off your windshield. If you wear polarized glasses, they may filter out the appearance of these displays entirely.

If Your Car Has an LCD Screen

Many newer cars also have LCD screens as part of the internal displays. You might have them on your driver’s dashboard or even as part of your control panel.

Unfortunately, these screens are already polarized, so wearing polarized lenses might make these screens hard to see. Instead, try wearing non-polarized glasses or simply some eyeglasses.

The Bottom Line

It’s clear that wearing sunglasses is a very important part of road safety. Sunglasses can provide UV protection, minimize glare, and improve your ability to see overall.

When you’re searching for a new pair of sunnies, remember to look for factors like polarization, prescription lenses, tint density, and versatility Here at Pair Eyewear, we understand that sunglasses aren’t just a piece of road equipment — they’re a fashion statement. To learn more about how our system works and where to start, browse our selection of base frames today.


How Does Ultraviolet Light Damage Your Eyes | Nevada Eye Physicians

Glare Sensitivity - Ophthalmology | UCLA Health

How to Find Your Face Shape in 3 Simple Steps - 2024 | MasterClass

Recommended Types of Sunglasses | American Academy of Ophthalmology