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Why Do Polarized Sun Glasses
Work Well as
Sunglasses for Truckers?


Professional truck driver Mike Simons wears his polarized sun glasses in his truck.Where Mike Simons goes, his pair of shielded polarized sun glasses almost always go. 

At left is a photo of him wearing them when he drove a company-issued truck regionally.

Long before he became a professional truck driver, he knew firsthand the dangers of driving in bright sunlight and glare: limited visibility.

When Mike drove a truck long haul and regionally, these sunglasses were always on his packing list.

When he had a local truck driving job, he carried them with him every day. 

Why?



How Glare Affects Visibility

According to Wikipedia,

Glare is difficulty seeing in the presence of bright light such as direct or reflected sunlight or artificial light such as car headlamps at night. ...

Glare can be generally divided into two types, discomfort glare and disability glare. Discomfort glare results in an instinctive desire to look away from a bright light source or difficulty in seeing a task. Disability glare impairs the vision of objects without necessarily causing discomfort.



With and Without Polarizing Power

Vicki took the following "before" and "after" photos showing the difference that polarized sun glasses can make in situations with glare. These were taken in our car on a sunny day.

Photo taken through windshield of car, showing glare reflection of air vent.

In this photo, you can clearly see the reflection of the air vent on the inside of the windshield.

Imagine the impact of this kind of glare, either inside or outside a truck.

Photo taken through windshield of car, taken through polarized sunglasses, showing not nearly as much glare.

To take this photo, Vicki held up her pair of spring lock polarized sun glasses in front of the camera.

Although it can be made out, the reflection of the air vent is much harder to see.

Imagine the benefits truckers could experience from using polarized sunglasses in settings like this.



Different Styles of Polarized Sun Glasses

There are at least three different styles of these "trucker sunglasses" on the market (as shown below through our affiliation with Amazon.com):

  • Shielded, which can be worn over prescription glasses (this is the style Mike wears);
  • Spring lock, which fit over prescription glasses (this is the style Vicki wears); and
  • Clip on, which can be attached to prescription glasses.

Shielded Spring Lock Clip On





With his shielded polarized sunglasses on top of his head, Mike enters the code to gain access to his assigned shower at a truck stop. With polarized sun glasses on his head, professional truck driver Mike Simons enters the code to gain access to a truck stop shower.


Professional truck driver Mike Simons wearing his polarized sunglasses so he can see more easily while driving. Except when weather causes subdued lighting, Mike almost always wears his polarized trucker "shades" while driving during the day.

Mike's Recommendation: Shielded Style

Mike highly recommends the shielded sunglasses he uses because 

  1. they fit over his prescription glasses, 
  2. they are polarized; and 
  3. the shields on the sides help to protect his eyes from sunlight that comes in his side window.


Vicki's Recommendation: Spring-Loaded Style

Vicki has used quite a number of clip-on sunglasses over the years. She much prefers the spring loaded polarized version for these reasons:

  1. they are polarized;
  2. they have metal frames that protect the edges; and
  3. they are sturdier than the clip-on style.

This style of sunglasses are not as easy to put on as the shielded or clip-on style, but once in place, they tend to stay there until deliberately removed. They can be a little tricky to put on, especially if one edge does not properly loop under the edge of one's glasses.

Although Vicki has never had it happen, we speculate that it is possible to overwork or lose the spring. Once the spring is gone or no longer works, we're not sure that they can be repaired. What can be done with a pair of spring-loaded polarized sun glasses once the spring loses its "springiness"?

Also, depending upon the construction of this type of sunglasses, the way that they are stored could bend the frame. If one puts them, for example, into a pants pocket and then bends a certain way, the metal could bend. Vicki has had this happen. To date, she has always been able to bend the frame back in shape. Hurray!



Caution About Clip-On Sunglasses

The kind of clip-on sunglasses that are applied by pinching and releasing the clip at the top are easier to attach to prescription lenses than the spring-loaded kind. But because they are not framed on the edges, they are

  • more fragile,
  • more likely to break and
  • much more likely to get scratched.

Also, it is possible that over time, the place where the clip meets the lenses "could" mar the surface.





Other Anti-Glare or Glare Reduction Products

Besides sunglasses, there are other products on the market designed to reduce glare such as polarized visors (or "glare" visors) and window clings. When using any of these products, protect the surfaces against even small scratches, as they will no doubt will be visible.

Do not use any products that would put you in violation of the FMCSR. The International Window Film Association has listed state law charts about window tinting.

Federal regulatings regarding windshields in commercial motor vehicles may be found in ยง 393.60 of the FMCSR.

You also need to know that not all see-through visors are "anti-glare" or have polarizing effects. They merely provide a darker medium through which to look.



Too Many Scratches

There is a point at which being too frugal can be a liability...

Even though she was careful with them, Vicki once used a pair of spring loaded sunglasses so long that she had to discard them because there were too many scratches to see through them clearly.

Is there a way to resurface the lenses of polarized sunglasses? If you know of one, please share it with Vicki, because she would surely like to learn!






truck drivers money saving tip icon

Money saving tip: The style of polarized sun glasses that a person uses should reflect both functionality and personal preference. When Mike is not using his sun glasses, he either wears them on top of his head or puts them on the vehicle's dash. He has used a cord or strap to connect the ear pieces to let them hang from his neck when not in use, but that hasn't worked too well for him.

Be aware that sunglasses -- whether or not they are polarized sun glasses -- may feature different levels of darkness or even colors of lenses. Lens colors range from amber to green to smoky. Buy whichever type of lens suits you best. (We've never gotten used to using amber lenses, but others swear by them.)

Brand name sunglasses -- which are almost always very expensive -- are a fashion statement. Determine if it is important to you to have a "name" on yours. Could the money you spend on them be used more productively elsewhere in your budget?

The bottom line reason for buying polarized sun glasses is because they can help you see better in situations where you encounter glare.








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