Wear Sunglasses To See Better When Driving In The Rain

Wear Sunglasses To See Better When Driving In The Rain

If rain is making it difficult to see the road while driving, donning a pair of polarised sunglasses can help you see through the downpour — whether it’s sunny outside or not.

Photo by Basheer Tome.

When it’s really coming down hard, you probably put your windshield wipers on the highest speed possible. Sometimes this helps, but sometimes it’s still hard to see in front of you, especially if it’s foggy. Snopes explains why a pair of polarised sunglasses can improve your vision in rain and fog:

Wearing polarized sunglasses when driving in the rain during the day will help a driver see better. Poliarized sunglasses work to block horizontal components of scattered or reflected light, which means they help counteract the scattering of light that atmospheric effects like fog or rain have on daylight.

Note that this is only polarised sunglasses. Non-polarised lenses will just make it darker and harder to see. In addition, this tip doesn’t really work at night, either, so it’s probably safer to stay off the road if you’ve got darkness and rain working against you. Hit the link to read more.

Pulling the Shades [Snopes]


  • I can testify to this. I was driving up north during a really heavy sunshower a month or so ago, it was undriveable without my polarised sunglasses on

    good to see im not just crazy!

    • Yes, those “3d” glasses from the cinema are polarised. I’ve used the lenses from them taped over a camera lens to cheaply polarise digital photography.
      However, be aware that the angles used in polarisation can be different to each purpose you intend to use it for.
      Put a pair on and look at an LCD screen. Now tilt your head. Everything darkens; this is adjusting the level of polarisation, as LCD screens usually already have a polarisation filter membrane coating, and your wearing the glasses counteracts the effect.

  • Really, Lifehacker? You’re dishing out great advice like wearing sunnies while driving in the rain and ignoring the fact that it’s already darker out than normal and sunnies are going to cut visibility down even further?

    And you post other intelligent suggestions like how to build a DIY flaming candle holder and mount it on a wooden fence, without thinking that anyone following your instructions is likely not exactly your best DIY’er to begin with and will almost certainly make a mistake like not screw it in properly, leading to burning down the fence, the lawn, any trees around, and a few houses?

    Have you passed any of your incredibly litigious articles past your legal department or are you really not expecting to get sued?

    Man, what an easy way to make a few grand by suing your stupid asses after following your supposed DIY tips. But thankfully I’m not your regular idiot reader and am smart enough not to try your tips.

    What’s next – tips on cleaning bear fur with honey-smelling hairbrushes? How to swim with sharks and rays wearing nothing but a wetsuit and a filmcrew?

    • Wow, calm down a bit. Have you ever worn polarised sunglasses before? This is a pretty valid tip, polarised sunnies cut out a huge amount of glare, and unless it’s very dark, they would most likely improve your overall ability to see clearly, especially in a sun-shower.

      You’re not being funny or clever, you just come across as a complete douche.

    • This tip has worked for me ever since I got a pair of polarised sunnies. Of course it doesn’t work good when the skies are blackening. But other overcast and rainy days it works a charm.

  • Thank you! I’m been saying this for years and no has ever believed me. They probably till wont now but as long as i’m not the only person that thinks so, then i’m happy.

  • I do this all the time. Typically polarized sunglasses aren’t as dark as normal sunnies. After owning my first pair of polarized ones I’ve never bought a normal pair.everything just looks so much clearer with them.just be careful your car tint isn’t polarized ay the same angle

  • Yes it works and works really well, as someone mentioned by cutting glare you can actually see things brighter because your pupils open up.
    For anyone worried about the darkening effect of sunnies you can buy polarised glasses for fishing that have quite lightly tinted lenses, they cut the glare from the water so you can see the fish.
    Dont try using the cinema glasses as each eye is polarised at a different angle to allow only the light for that particular eye through. Sunnies are designed to cut out only the polarised light which is reflected from objects and surfaces, different design for different purposes.

  • People, stop bickering!
    The polarized glasses used in 3D cinemas typically use circular polarization.
    This article refers to linear polarization. Linear polarization (when correctly oriented) reduces transmission of light that has bounced off a surface (or water droplet, or something similar). Obviously–whether polarized or not–if the sunglasses’ tint is dark enough, safety may be compromised. The fact that it is raining doesn’t mean that the safe brightness threshold has been breached, but this needs to be considered. (And what is ‘safe’ may vary for different individuals depending upon pupil size, lens clarity, etc.)

  • this was advocated 50 year ago as night driving glasses unfortunately all the advocates have long since died in road accidents.Do your research before bringing up silly ideas

  • I have attempted sunglasses when driving at night when troubled by glare from headlights.
    These days most headlights are too bright even on normal settings and many are poorly adjusted.

    Not good when there is no traffic but are better in reducing headlight glare.

  • I have a pair of polarized sunglasses with a 2% tint for purposes such as this. There’s a minimal reduction in light, but a huge reduction in glare. You can also get polarizing, 0% tint lenses – i.e. snow goggle lenses. They’re pretty expensive (especially if you want prescription ones), but worth it if this is a concern.

    Obviously, they’re not for low-light conditions – but then again, in low-light driving, there’s also low glare.

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