Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the way they look and feel behind the wheel when they’re wearing their favorite pair of shades? It’s pure Americana! Ever since there have been hot cars, there have been cool sunglasses.
While many people associate wearing sunglasses with warm weather and summertime, wearing sunglasses is just as important in the fall. In fact, wearing sunglasses in the fall could actually be a lifesaver.
The fall equinox is a particularly problematic time of year for drivers. With the glaring sun blazing at eye level through windshields, commuters traveling east in the morning are forced to battle more than just rush hour traffic. They’re faced with the blinding sun as well. Enduring a glaring, westward commute home in the evening is equally stressful.
This happens every autumn as the nights grow longer and the days grow shorter. On the fall equinox, day and night are exactly 12 hours each, challenging drivers twice daily to make out traffic signals, signs, pedestrians, and other vehicles against a backdrop of dazzling sunlight. That’s why wearing sunglasses and adhering to other safe driving strategies, while always important, becomes even more crucial in the fall.
Strategies for Safe Driving in the Weeks Surrounding the Fall Equinox
Instead of feeling helpless against the powerful rays of the sun, utilize the following police-approved tips.
- Invest in a pair of quality sunglasses with polarized lenses. Polarized lenses help reduce glare from the road, windshields, cars, and other reflective surfaces. For optimal safety, polarized sunglasses are essential for early morning and late afternoon driving.
- Slow down. When the bright sun, or any other factor, affects visibility, decrease speed to create added reaction time.
- Increase the protective zone of safety. This involves maintaining a greater distance than usual between vehicles. Traveling at a safer distance creates a cushion that might just prevent an annoying fender-bender or something worse.
- Keep sun visors free of loose objects like papers, CDs, small electronics, and cosmetics. Falling objects can be a major distraction when visors are quickly flipped down, and stored items turn into hazards.
- Keep windshields clean both inside and out. This helps eliminate glare caused by the buildup of dirt and chemical film on the glass. If a clean finger rubbed across the inside of a windshield leaves a smear, the glass is probably past due for a good cleaning. For the outside, always make sure windshield washer fluid is full.
- Don’t drive with a cracked or pitted windshield. Many insurances cover most or all of the cost for windshield replacement/repair, so there’s no need to delay getting it fixed.
Polarized Sunglasses Provide the Best Protection
Of all these safety strategies, the most effective is a pair of polarized sunglasses. Polarized lenses reduce the glare that occurs when light waves reflect off horizontal surfaces such as a car’s hood or the road.
The special polarized film used on polarized lenses contains horizontal filtering strips set at a specific angle to filter out 99% of the light waves that cause glare. Wearing sunglasses with polarized lenses not only provide better clarity and color but reduces eye fatigue as well.
The gold standard for polarized sunglasses is those with both polycarbonate lenses and UV protection. Such lenses:
- Are up to 35% lighter and thinner than glass lenses.
- Offer the best impact resistance of any lens material.
- Are best at reducing glare from water, sand, snow, and highway pavement, all of which can cause temporary sun blindness, eye strain, headaches, and impaired night vision.
UV Protection is Essential
UV protection comes from an invisible chemical applied to lenses. Opticians agree that polarized lenses with UV protection are the best sunglasses for driving because of their superior glare resistance. Brands such as Oakley, Wiley X, and Edge Eyewear offer several styles of sunglasses available with polarized lenses.
Every driver knows the importance of paying close attention to the road. Unfortunately, the blinding sun, whether it’s rising or setting, is no help during the weeks surrounding the fall equinox. The sun creating a glare has the potential to make rush hour even more hazardous than usual.
Using strategies to reduce the risk of an accident is everyone’s responsibility. Fortunately, the benefits provided by polarized sunglasses can help any driver facing the glaring sun.
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