Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Driving with Polarised Sunglasses


Sometimes I feel we are so ill-equipped in India compared to the western world. Here in India simple technology is also defined as a premium which is considered to be a standard in the western world. Take for instance, ABS and Airbags in cars. We are so much bothered about the cost of the vehicle that manufacturers are forced to cut down on these technologies to reduce the cost of the car. 

Surely the car is now significantly affordable and we hardly bother about ABS and stuff, forgetting the fact that it is such a useful technology. Moreover, even the car dealers and the salesmen also don’t portray ABS and Airbags as life saver technology. Forget Airbags, there isn’t much technical about it. Everybody knows that in case of accidents, airbags come out and save you from the impact. But ask the people what ABS is and you will find that hardly 1% of the car driving people actually know what ABS is. 

Well let’s leave this discussion here and come back to the subject matter. We are ill-equipped as far as knowledge is concerned. Same goes for the Polarised sunglasses also. We are still cost conscious and prefer to go for cheaper sunglasses which suffice the general purpose. Even those who buy Ray-Ban without a second thought hardly know anything about the advantages of polarised lenses. So the problem doesn’t lie entirely with disposable income. People do have money to spend but they are ill-equipped as far as knowledge is concerned. 

The sad part is none of the sunglasses shops and salesmen sell the idea of polarised lenses to their customers. Rightly so, unless one knows the actual benefits of something, why should he / she invest in that? Let us first discuss what are Polarised Sunglasses and then the advantages it has. 

What are Polarised Sunglasses? 

These are just normal sunglasses with a chemical coating on the surface. This chemical coating allows the light to enter only in one direction which is the straight line direction and cuts off all other lights coming from all other different directions. Resulting in an image which is crystal clear, soothing, without glare and unnecessary reflections cut off. 

I came to know about polarised sunglasses through my hobby of photography. When I started using a circular polariser for my camera lens then I realised how important it is to wear polarised sunglasses during my long drives. Probably, these days because of more and more people going into DSLR mode, polarised glasses are gaining in popularity and awareness. 

Advantages of Polarised Sunglasses 

Ask any person who has a hobby of fishing, they can’t survive without one. They need it to cut the glare of sun on the water surface to see the fish underneath. 

Immediate advantage is reduction in glare – glare from the long flat street ahead, glare from the metal surfaces and glass surfaces of other vehicles, glare from the sun looking directly in your eyes, etc. People who drive long distances know exactly what this glare is and how it can strain your eye when you have to keep looking into that road ahead in bright daylight for 900 kms or more in a single day. For that matter now I’m so used to wearing it that even if I drive to the nearby grocery store, I can’t stop myself from wearing it. 

For driving long distances, these are a must have for the drivers. However I would insist that people should demand for these sunglasses from their opticians even if they don’t drive long distances regularly. It is really worthwhile to pay that extra sum and buy a pair of polarised sunglasses. However, you may or may not notice the advantages by wearing it for 5 minutes in a day but the advantages definitely do exist. 

Personal Experience 

I have a distance vision problem and use correction lenses. I went to my optician to give me sunglasses which are correction lenses as well. Besides this, I also asked him to make it polarised. Until a few years back I thought people who wear correction lenses can never wear sunglasses. Ill-equipped with knowledge, as always. But then I came to know about the fact that even sunglasses can be custom made as per your vision requirements. Add to it the polarised aspect and you have your own custom made personal vision corrected polarised sunglasses. And to state a fact here, it is not prohibitively expensive. It costs somewhere between 4K – 5K. Normal polarised sunglasses are available for 2K only. 

I have used them for driving 900+ km in a single day in the month of April in extreme hot condition. Not to mention, I was thrilled with the benefits. 

I hope one day we are also well read and knowledgeable like our western counterparts and atleast the companies and sales people would know how to sell their products. If not sell atleast make the customer aware about the product and let him take a more informed decision. 

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