Are Amber or Yellow polarized lenses capable of helping with driving at night?
Ever wonder if your shooting glasses can help you drive at nighttime?
The basic premise of this article may seem flawed at first glance, but we will hopefully be able to defend it through well-thought-out logic if you’ll indulge us a bit. Sure, it doesn’t make a lot of sense on the surface to be driving in shooting glasses. After all, there are plenty of high-quality eyewear options for those who want to optimize their driving experience. More importantly, is what you hear from industry marketing about yellow and Amber colored lenses true? Can these colors help you drive safer? Can it help you drive better?
But there are some compelling reasons to juxtapose the two activities upon each other in order to maximize value and improve performance without unnecessary expense or effort. We think you’ll agree when you see just how much carryover a trip to the range and actually shooting at the range can have. That said: we want to legitimately explore the concept of the yellow spectrum lenses on your ability to drive during the night. What’s fact and what is fiction?
So, without too much more introduction, let’s dive into a somewhat esoteric, but also quite important topic. How certain shooting glasses are marketed to help with night driving – but may not be helpful – they may even potentially be dangerous. And why it sometimes actually makes sense to judge your shooting glasses by metrics that might not only cater to shooting.
What lens type makes the most sense for night driving, that also works as a good lens for shooting glasses?
Driving glasses are important tools. Not just hunters driving to their favorite deer hide, or duck blind. From a practical perspective, professional drivers can utilize specialized eyewear to help them drive. Much like hunters and competition shooters can use those same glasses.
Glare at night is a different kind of problem than glare in the daytime. In the daytime, polarized lenses might make sense. But used at night, they’d impede safety and performance while on the road.
At night, the glare from multi-colored brake lights, streetlights and moonlight can all cause different concerns. That starring and streaming that comes from the intense, multiple light shades and the abundance of different light pollution from outside the vehicle can cause difficulty.
Subtle things, such as a dirty interior windshield, or interior lighting schemes can further muddy the waters. The way that interior lighting affects your eyesight in conjunction with exterior lights can make just staying focused on the road a huge undertaking.
While that polarized lens was great when the sun was the cause of the issues in your vision, the amber colored or yellow colored lenses are marketed to cut glare in a nighttime setting almost as effectively. This, without causing your vision to be unnecessarily shaded.
The problem with this statement is that it doesn’t seem to have scientific backing. In fact, it’s been called out by the FTC as false advertising and deceptive marketing practice. That’s because these types of lenses cannot deliver on these promises.
It’s true, there are some very rare situations where you might feel you are optimizing your visual acuity with these types of lenses, but because of the reality of the matter, it just doesn’t make sense to be using any kind of tint at night.
How these lenses can help you as a driver when you aren’t shooting
It is the blue spectrum blocking that can cut out unnecessary eye strain. The streaking that is so common with clear lenses, or without glasses altogether is cut to a minimum as edge detail is refined and yellows and reds are muted, thanks to the lens color as well. But this is not really true during nighttime driving conditions. The tint of the amber glasses can be an impediment. Yellow glasses might have some minimal impacts, but probably much less than would justify the use of them for nighttime driving.
The best night driving glasses have no tint at all
Reduced eye strain means a more alert driver. Just as the amber lens can help define edge motion and enhance your periphery, it can also help you to recognize threats and safety concerns on the edges of your field of view while driving. The slightly enhanced edge detection can improve your reaction times. Subconsciously, your eyes are providing your brain with visual cues. These visual cues are helping your brain to respond quicker and have a better, more accurate picture of what is actually happening around you.
But this is true during certain driving conditions. It is our belief that it DOES NOT improve nighttime driving ability or help when there are less than ideal lighting conditions. The key here is to maximize the available ambient light that reaches your eyes while limiting blinding headlights and reflections. Night driving glasses do neither in very-low-light situations. You will get better results by making sure your windshield is clean and your headlights covers are clean and transparent.
This can all contribute to better overall sense utilization for other senses, not just vision.
Some of this seems over the top, and countless people have tried out these types of lenses while driving at night, but the anecdotal evidence simply doesn’t ring true across the board. Something should be able to confidently tout science to prove claims like the manufacturers have been doing for years.
What is certain however is that a more alert driver; a more comfortable driver is a safer driver. So, while what may be made originally for gun safety, can also double for driver safety – BUT ONLY IN THE RIGHT CONDITIONS. Why impede your vision with distraction or additional tinting when your eye works on the principle of light collection, to render the optimum picture in low light conditions?
Why Grunt X and other quality shooting glasses can double as everyday tools
Let’s start with the safety aspects. Sure this is less about driving and more about utilitarianism, but if you take a moment to look at the overall concept of what we build it may enhance your view about shooting glasses and how they can be used for much more than that.
The ANSI specifications that most high-quality safety glasses have are impressive. But the significantly more deliberate and much tougher to attain specifications that come on top tier glasses are even more so. GruntX and some of our competitors have achieved a special certification on our glasses. And that certification is not just about the lenses. The MIL SPEC PRF-32432 rating that is stamped on our glasses means something much more.
As an everyday carry, or everyday use type of glasses with this MIL SPEC PRF-32432 rating, it means that your eyes are actually much safer for unexpected things, and for what you do expect.
What types of things does MIL SPEC PRF-32432 cover?
A splash of chemicals at work could cause major damage to garden variety safety glasses. It won’t to a set of glasses with this MIL SPEC rating.
A sudden dust storm with your windows down while driving could mean you’re setting up an appointment with the ophthalmologist. With glasses that have this rating, it’s much less likely. The way the glasses are constructed means it’s harder for dust and sand and airborne debris to actually get to your eyes.
You can use glasses like these with hardhats and face shields and respirator masks. If you’re reading this in early 2020, you know that those demands have increased of late. Anyone who isn’t familiar with wearing an N95 mask or heavier, right now is probably living somewhere the internet doesn’t exist. Anti-fogging, and close-fitting architecture is part of the MIL SPEC rating.
While 2020 has presented a unique set of circumstances that we as a nation haven’t quite experienced before, the point still holds true. Shooting glasses can be more than just shooting glasses if a situation requires them to be. That is: if they are up to the task, like GruntX glasses [LINK] are.
The value of a good pair of shooting glasses for use in mundane tasks
The value of a top tier pair of glasses for normal day to day situations goes a bit under the radar until you need them.
Like the hotshot logger that felled trees twice as fast as the next closest co-worker, who didn’t’ realize he needed protective chaps until he hit an unexpected knot in the log.
Things happen. It’s good to have a tool on your belt (so to speak) that’s capable of handling a situation you didn’t expect. Such is the case with a great pair of glasses.
The RIGHT pair of Glasses can be a game-changer for daily wear
The RIGHT pair of glasses can double as safety wear at work, as a roofer, a carpenter; a welder, etc. But it’s not just about skilled trades – you can get great shooting glasses that double as excellent sunglasses too. Or if you are in front of a computer screen beta testing video games for a living, yellow glasses can help you avoid unnecessary eye fatigue by blocking blue spectrum light wavelength.
It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, there are very few professions or careers that cannot benefit in some way from a quality pair of glasses. Suffice it to say – they are multi-purpose tools.
Some people drive for a living. That’s not easy. Gas station chili and truck stop showers and 20 hours on the road to get a load of important items to their destination. This author can appreciate the sacrifices of that career move.
Especially now (at the time of the writing of this article), in a nation that’s coping with a major viral outbreak, where supply lines are continually being threatened. Truckers and professional drivers are essentially on the frontlines of a war against an invisible enemy.
Now more than ever, those drivers need all the help they can get, and a well-deserved pat on the back for doing a job that is relatively thankless, and exceptionally important to just about every citizen of this country.
In our view, this does not include wearing tinted glasses at night. Save them for when they can shine – like early morning just after the sun rises (Amber lenses); or daytime driving (polarized lenses), etc.
Shooting glasses are not just glasses for use while shooting. Though you can use them for that and nothing else if you really want to. They are however, much more versatile than their moniker leads on. Most shooting glasses are much more usable across a wide variety of activities than some would give credit for.
That’s why a lot of our customers who have trusted GruntX glasses, tell us about how they never take them off except at home, indoors. It’s why we get stories about freak accidents that were averted thanks to that hardcore MIL SPEC PRF-32432 rating. It’s why we write about topics just like this. Because even if they seem unrelated or borderline kooky, exploring ideas like these can help you gain a wealth of understanding about a given topic.