Consider buying a pair of plain lens glasses and have them treated with anti-glare coating – your ‘night driving eyewear’! All good opticians can do this for you, or you can buy them online from a number of reputable UK internet opticians. These will be invaluable for night driving now, and in the future, and will help significantly during the day in any season. See tips below for doing this with style!
To cope really efficiently with sun/snow/very bright conditions during the day, get a pair of good quality sunglasses with polarised lenses; these lenses look lighter than normal sunglasses, but they diffuse very bright light whilst allowing you to see low-light detail, and work far better than conventional sunglasses for driving. Costly, but worth it. Or see below for an On Fire tip for getting a pair of designer driving glasses at a fraction of the price by being a wee bit canny.
Have a prowl round online auction sites like eBay and eBid. You’ll often find a better range of frame styles than the limited choice in your local opticians, whether you’re looking for plain lenses to be coated, or polarised sunglasses. Online opticians will cheerfully replace the lenses in a classic/vintage frame, and ya’ll end up with a pair of Dior/Bugatti etc. frames at a fraction of current prices.
OR … Try a pair of sun optics/night optics goggles – they don’t look terribly cool, as they’re designed for workmen working in very bright conditions – building sites; large, open areas like beaches, and nightime floodlit areas. Available for about a fiver online, they’ll certainly do the business for you until you work out what you need for different light conditions.
Get your favourite pair treated with anti-glare coating – your normal optician will do this for between £20-£30, or, if you’re prepared to wait, you can send them to an online optician, as mentioned above, and get a significant saving. This will get you sorted for night driving, and as mentioned above, will help with sun/bright light during the day.
For low sun and snow, prescription sunglasses can often be got as part of an offer when you buy your normal prescription glasses. However, the all-important polarised lenses will cost more – once you have your optician’s prescription, you can shop around, both bricks-and-mortar and online. Make sure they add your pupillary distance to your prescription (the distance between the centre of your pupils when your eyes are looking straight ahead). Most opticians leave this measurement out of your prescription, because they want you to buy spectacles from them! You can measure this distance, however, yourself very easily and accurately using various online guides.
Polarized prescription sunglasses, whatever route you choose, will cost a bit, especially if you want something with style. Unless you’re loaded, and can afford to change often, go for a classic style which will look good anytime, and with good all-round eye coverage to reduce peripheral glare; wraparound navigator/pilot style, or big Italian/Chanel style. Again, see below for the On Fire ‘more dash than cash’ ideas …
As mentioned above, you can browse a far wider range of classic and designer frames by looking in the vintage/collectable sunglasses areas of online auction sites. Once you have the frame, you can send it off to an online optician with your prescription and measurements, and have anti-glare, or polarised, added at a significant saving. Bear in mind that the larger the lens, or the weirder-shaped ones, will cost more.
OR … Same as above; optic goggles can be used alone, but are designed to fit over prescription glasses, and work great for night driving and bright conditions. They may look a little OTT, but well worth keeping a pair to hand in the glove compartment at a fiver-ish, should you leave your good pair in the house when you’re in a rush!
The On Fire for Driving Team