Studies show there are increased incidents of auto accidents during than than during the day. Nighttime driving can be more than annoying. For some drivers it can also be dangerous. Low-light conditions lead to decreased depth perception, ability to distinguish color, and worsening of peripheral vision. Additionally, people tend to be more tired at night. From bad vision to visual distractions, driving after dark requires additional safety and protection measures to avoid accidents.
Besides keeping your eyes healthy, there are some things you can do to make driving at night safer for you and other drivers on the road. Here are 8 tips if you’re on the road when it’s dark.
1. Position your headlights.
Is one of your lights pointed lower than the other or uneven? You can manually adjust your headlights to position them so that they don’t blind oncoming traffic. Get your owner’s manual out and find the instructions on how to aim or position your headlights. It may take some time, but it will save you a headaches and potential accident in the long run.
2. Wear the right glasses
Are you wearing your daytime glasses at night, while your nighttime glasses are sitting on the nightstand? Better yet, have you been prescribed glasses but refuse to wear them? Both can be very dangerous decisions with serious consequences. Your vision has decreased, which is the reason for the glasses.
3. Dim your interior lights
Most instrument panels and dashboard lights have adjusters. Don’t position them to the maximum brightness. Instead, opt for a lower level of brightness so that it doesn’t distract your visual acuity and negatively impact your forward vision.
4. Don’t stare into oncoming lights
One of the worst things you can do is stare into oncoming headlights, especially if they are high beams. The brightness will distort your vision and it will take your eyes some time to adjust back to its original visibility level. Don’t blind yourself with the lights by staring directly into them. Look above or on the side of them as oncoming cars pass you.
5. Wipe your windshields thoroughly
Window streaks can magnify and really cause a problem at nighttime. This can potentially blur your vision or cause you to strain to see past the streaks across the window. Try wiping your windshields off with newspaper. A piece of newspaper will polish the glass and help remove streaks and dirt from the windows.
6. Look out for animals
Animals are known for sitting in the road or darting out into traffic at inopportune times, especially at night. Learn how to spot the retinas of animals. Often you can see the glow of the animal’s eyes, due to the reflection of your headlights, long before you can actually see the animal. Being able to identify the animal’s eyes or retina glow will save you the unfortunate collision with an animal on the road at night.
7. Adjust and clean your side view mirrors
When you clean your windshield, don’t forget to clean your side view mirrors. If your exterior mirrors aren’t clean, then the glare of the car behind you can make it difficult to see and distort your vision. Try tilting the mirrors slightly down to reduce the amount of light you see from the car behind.
8. Beware of fog lights
Fog lights are purposely positioned low on cars to help you see the actual road when it’s foggy because fog lays low. If you drive with your fog lights, remember they spread wider than standard headlights to increase your visibility on a foggy night. However, these lights will also make small rocks, potholes, bumps, etc. look larger.
For more safety tips, click on this link from Popular Mechanics.