Can You Wear Sunglasses Whilst Driving?

Can You Wear Sunglasses Whilst Driving?


When it comes to driving, there are numerous safety precautions that need to be taken to ensure a smooth and secure journey. One common question that arises among drivers is, "Can you wear sunglasses whilst driving?" This article aims to provide a comprehensive answer to this question, backed by expert opinions and reliable sources. So, let's delve into the topic and shed some light on the matter.

Can You Wear Sunglasses Whilst Driving?

Driving requires good visibility and focus, as well as the ability to react quickly to changing road conditions. Sunglasses, on the other hand, are primarily worn to protect the eyes from sunlight and glare. So, can you wear sunglasses whilst driving? The answer is yes, but it comes with some important considerations.

The Importance of Clear Vision on the Road

Maintaining clear vision on the road is crucial for safe driving. Any obstruction or impairment to vision can increase the risk of accidents. Therefore, when wearing sunglasses while driving, it is essential to ensure that they do not compromise your ability to see the road clearly.

Choosing the Right Sunglasses for Driving

Not all sunglasses are suitable for driving. To ensure optimal visibility, it is recommended to choose sunglasses with certain characteristics:

Polarised Lenses: Polarised sunglasses help reduce glare, which is particularly useful when driving on sunny days or in snowy conditions. These lenses block horizontal light waves that cause glare, allowing for clearer vision.

UV Protection: Sunglasses should offer 100% UV protection to safeguard your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to eye damage, including cataracts and macular degeneration.

Lens Colour: While personal preference plays a role in choosing lens colour, certain colours are known to enhance visibility on the road. Grey and brown lenses provide natural colour perception, while yellow or amber lenses can enhance contrast in low-light conditions.

Benefits Of Wearing Sunglasses While Driving

Wearing sunglasses while driving offers numerous benefits that contribute to a safer and more comfortable experience on the road. Firstly, sunglasses provide essential protection against harmful UV rays from the sun. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to eye damage and vision problems, making proper eye protection crucial. Additionally, sunglasses help reduce glare caused by sunlight reflecting off surfaces such as roads, water, or other vehicles. By minimising glare, sunglasses enhance visibility and improve reaction times, enabling better control of the vehicle. Furthermore, sunglasses reduce eye strain and fatigue, particularly during long drives or under intense sunlight. They help relax the eyes and maintain optimal visual acuity, ensuring drivers stay alert and focused on the road ahead. By shielding the eyes from bright sunlight, sunglasses also contribute to overall driver comfort and promote a more relaxed driving experience.

Sunglasses To Avoid While Driving

When it comes to choosing sunglasses for driving, there are certain styles and features that are best to avoid. One type to steer clear of is oversized sunglasses that have frames extending beyond your peripheral vision. These can restrict your field of view and potentially hinder your ability to see approaching vehicles or pedestrians. Additionally, sunglasses with heavily tinted lenses, particularly those in dark or non-prescription colours like red or blue, may reduce overall visibility, especially in low-light conditions. Mirrored or flashy lenses can also cause distractions by reflecting light and creating glare. It's important to prioritise safety on the road, so opt for sunglasses with a comfortable and secure fit, appropriate lens tint, and a style that doesn't compromise your vision while driving.

Misconceptions and Legality Of Sunglasses While Driving

Addressing potential concerns is essential when it comes to wearing sunglasses while driving. One common concern is the potential interference with traffic signal recognition. However, most modern sunglasses are designed to preserve colour perception, allowing drivers to accurately interpret traffic signals. Another concern is LCD screen visibility, particularly in newer car models. While polarised sunglasses can affect the visibility of certain LCD screens, many sunglasses now come with technology that minimises this interference. It's important to check the compatibility of your sunglasses with the car's displays or consider using non-polarised options if necessary. Additionally, some drivers worry about the legality of wearing certain types of sunglasses in different regions. It's advisable to familiarise yourself with local regulations, as different areas may have specific guidelines on acceptable lens tints or other features. By addressing these concerns, drivers can make informed decisions and choose sunglasses that prioritise both eye protection and safe driving practices.

Tips for Maintaining Optimal Visibility with Sunglasses

To ensure clear vision while wearing sunglasses, incorporating a few simple practices into your routine can make a significant difference. Regularly cleaning the lenses with a microfibre cloth or lens cleaning solution helps remove smudges and dirt that can impair vision. Keep your sunglasses within easy reach, either in a designated compartment in your car or a protective case, to avoid fumbling for them when needed. Additionally, make it a habit to adjust the sunglasses to account for changing light conditions. This might involve sliding them down your nose or switching to a different pair with a lighter tint when transitioning to shaded areas or for nightfall. By following these practical tips, you can maintain optimal visibility and enjoy a comfortable driving experience while benefiting from the protection and style of your sunglasses.


Wearing sunglasses whilst driving can be safe and beneficial, provided certain factors are considered. Choosing the right sunglasses with polarised lenses, UV protection, and appropriate lens colour can help enhance visibility and reduce glare, ultimately promoting safer driving. However, it is important to ensure that the sunglasses do not compromise your ability to see traffic lights accurately or impair peripheral vision. If in doubt, consult with an eye care professional to find the most suitable sunglasses for your needs. So, the next time you find yourself asking, "Can you wear sunglasses whilst driving?" remember that with the right pair of sunglasses, you can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, reduce glare, and drive safely. Enjoy the journey while keeping your eyes safe and comfortable!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can wearing sunglasses affect my ability to judge traffic lights?

It is crucial to ensure that the sunglasses you choose do not hinder your ability to distinguish traffic lights accurately. Some sunglasses may alter the perception of colours, particularly when it comes to distinguishing between red and green lights. To avoid this issue, opt for sunglasses with neutral or grey lenses that provide true colour perception, as opposed to colourful lenses that will interfere with colour perception.

2. Is it safe to wear sunglasses in low-light conditions?

While sunglasses are typically associated with bright sunlight, they can also be beneficial in certain low-light conditions. For instance, wearing sunglasses during dawn or dusk can help reduce glare from the sun's rays, making it easier to see the road. However, it is important to strike a balance and remove the sunglasses if visibility becomes too compromised.

3. Can sunglasses impair peripheral vision?

Peripheral vision is essential for detecting objects and movements on the sides of the road. When choosing sunglasses for driving, it is crucial to select a pair that does not significantly obstruct your peripheral vision. Oversized or wide-frame sunglasses may limit your field of view, so opt for sunglasses with a design that allows for adequate peripheral vision.

4. What about wearing prescription sunglasses?

If you require prescription eyewear, consider getting prescription sunglasses specifically designed for driving. These sunglasses can incorporate your exact prescription, ensuring clear vision while on the road. Consulting with an optician or eye care professional can help you find the most suitable options for your needs.

5. What are the potential risks of wearing improper sunglasses while driving?

Wearing improper sunglasses while driving can introduce risks such as reduced visibility, compromised depth perception, and distorted colour perception. This can affect your ability to judge distances accurately, identify potential hazards, and react promptly to changes in road conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to choose sunglasses that prioritise safety and visibility.

6. Are there any legal restrictions on wearing sunglasses while driving?

In many countries, wearing sunglasses while driving is legal as long as they do not impede your vision. However, it is essential to check local traffic laws and regulations, as some places may have specific restrictions or requirements regarding sunglasses and other eyewear.

7. Can you wear sunglasses at night?

Wearing sunglasses at night is generally not recommended due to reduced visibility in low-light conditions. However, with advancements in technology, many glasses nowadays offer UV protection without dark-tinted lenses. Clear lens sunglasses can be a viable option for wearing at night, as long as visibility is good and they do not obstruct vision.

8. Can you wear polarised sunglasses whilst driving?

Yes, you can wear polarised sunglasses while driving. In fact, polarised sunglasses can be particularly beneficial for driving as they help reduce glare from the sun, reflections on the road, and other surfaces. By reducing glare, polarised lenses enhance visibility and improve driving safety. However, it's important to note that polarised sunglasses may interfere with the visibility of certain LCD screens or displays in some cars, so it's advisable to check compatibility or make adjustments if necessary.

9. Can sunglasses affect colour perception?

Yes, sunglasses can affect colour perception to some extent. The tint of sunglasses can alter the way we perceive colours, as they filter out certain wavelengths of light. Different coloured lenses can have varying effects on colour perception. For example, grey or neutral-coloured lenses tend to provide more accurate colour representation, while lenses with a warmer tint like brown or amber may enhance contrast and make colours appear more vivid. However, the overall impact on colour perception varies depending on the specific lens tint and personal sensitivity.

10. Can you legally wear sunglasses while driving in the UK?

Yes, you can legally wear sunglasses while driving in the UK. However, it's crucial to ensure that the sunglasses comply with certain legal requirements. The sunglasses should not restrict your vision or make it unsafe to drive. They should conform to the relevant European Union standards for sunglasses (CE marking), ensuring they provide adequate UV protection. Additionally, it's recommended to choose sunglasses with a category 2, 3, or 4 lens tint, as these are suitable for driving under different lighting conditions. It's important to follow the guidelines and prioritise safety while wearing sunglasses while driving.

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