Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Difficulties with Night Time Driving

Night driving is difficult for many people. Driving in the dark is much different from driving during the daylight hours. The human eye's field of vision is much smaller without the help of natural light. Sunlight provides the strongest light source. When it goes down at night, there are a variety of man-made lights that help drivers safely navigate the roads. Our eyes will adjust to lower levels of light (pupils dilate in darkness and constrict in brightness), but they have difficulty functioning properly when switching from bright to dark, or vice-versa. This can happen quite a lot on the roads at night when you look directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic. 

Driving either just before sunrise (dawn) or immediately after sunset (dusk) are also very dangerous time periods on the roadways, and many car accidents occur during these times. The problem is that while the sky is still well lit, the roads begin to get dark. This causes a disparity between light and dark and can cause vision problems for drivers. Car accident statistics are jarring at night. Despite 60 percent less traffic on the roads, more than 40 percent of all fatal car accidents occur at night. If you must drive at night and feel less than confident, the following tips will help you improve your night vision and reach your destination safely.

Here’s what you can do to see as well as possible when driving at night.
  • Make sure that your eyes are examined regularly by an ophthalmologist and that your eye prescription for glasses and contacts is up-to-date.
  • Wear a pair of glasses with antireflection coating on the lenses.
  • Do not wear sunglasses after dusk.
  • Clean your windshield inside and out.
  • Make sure your headlights are clean.
  • Use your high-beams when you can.
  • Dim your instrument lights to reduce brightness when you look at them.
  • Adjust your rearview mirror to “night” setting to dim the glare of headlights when cars are behind you.
  • Keep an extra two car lengths away from the car ahead of you at night.
If you have any concerns about your night time vision, please call us at 203-227-4113.