At Olympic Eyewear in Salt Lake City, Utah, team members are very aware that the winter months tend to be less busy for retailers of sunglasses. People normally associate sunglasses with summer sun, so they tend to buy more frequently between early May and mid-September. If that describes your buying habits, you might want to reconsider winter sunglasses. They are more important than you think.

This is not to say you should purchase a brand-new pair just for the sake of doing so. If you have one or more pairs capable of getting you through the winter, that’s fine. The point is to encourage you to not assume you do not need sunglasses during the winter. Nothing could be further from the truth.

To illustrate the point, here are four reasons to care about your sunglasses in the winter:

1. Driving Can Be a Real Bear

Even a moderately sunny day during the winter can make for more difficult driving than the brightest and sunniest summer day. There are two reasons: snow and road salt.

Because snow reflects sunlight, driving down a highway flanked by the fluffy white stuff on either side can mean a tremendous amount of sun glare penetrating your windshield and driving your eyes crazy. As for road salt, it tends to bleach otherwise dark colored pavement. Sun reflecting off a salt-bleached road only enhances the effects of sunlight reflecting off the snow.

Winter driving without sunglasses can lead to all sorts of problems. It can make it harder see, harder to judge distances, and more tiring on both the eyes and the brain.

2. Skiing Safely Is Nearly Impossible

Next up is that winter activity that sends so many people to the slopes: skiing. On a sunny day, skiing safely without sunglasses is nearly impossible. It is also not safe. Five to eight hours on the slopes without adequate eye protection can cause fatigue and headaches, at minimum. It could also cause snow blindness. In some people, ultraviolet damage to the eyes can be long term.

3. Winter Winds and the Eyes

Have you ever wondered why speed skaters wear sunglasses? It is not because of the light reflecting off the ice, it’s because of their speed. They are moving so fast that the air passing by their faces can quickly dry out their eyes. The same is true for you if you spend time outdoors during the winter.

Winter air is dry air. As such, it has a nasty habit of drying out the eyes. Keeping the winter wind away from your eyes is yet another benefit of wearing sunglasses this time of year.

4. Winter Sunglasses Are Cheaper

The fourth and final reason you should care about sunglasses in the winter has nothing to do with their practical use. Rather, it is all about price. Sunglasses tend to be less expensive during the winter as retailers are trying to move their inventory.

Let’s say you broke a pair of sunglasses on your Labor Day camping trip. You are thinking about waiting until spring to buy a replacement pair. Why? You’re going to pay more come spring when all the new styles come out. Why not save some money and purchase a new pair at winter prices?

We may associate sunglasses with the dog days of summer, but they are just as important in the dead of winter. Don’t forget about your sunglasses just because the days are getting shorter and the temperatures cooler. Be sure you have a good pair or two at the ready as we head into another winter season.