We know driving hazards exist during the day, but driving at night adds a completely new set of challenges. Why? It all comes down to visibility. During a clear day, you might be able to see thousands of feet ahead of you. But when the sun’s down and your headlights are on, that visibility can be reduced to as little as 150 feet.
If you find yourself squinting and struggling behind the wheel at night, here are some helpful tips to make driving at night easier and safer:
- Check your vision. Even if you don’t wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, poor night vision may warrant a trip to the eye doctor. As we age, it’s common to have more difficulty seeing at night. Blurry vision, trouble seeing objects or experiencing glare from lights are all reasons to schedule an appointment. Correcting your vision with glasses or contacts could put an end to your night-driving woes.
- Get a clear view. A dirty windshield or worn wipers can add an extra layer of difficulty to nighttime driving, especially if it starts to pour. For increased visibility, always make sure your windshield is cleaned regularly and replace your wipers if they start to streak.
- Clean your headlights. Road grime can easily cover your headlights and dim their beams. Old, oxidized plastic housings can also make lenses foggy. Remember to clean your headlights periodically and pick up a headlight restoration kit at your local auto parts store if your lights look cloudy or yellowed.
- Dim your dashboard. Bright infotainment screens and dashboards aren’t just distracting – they can also make it difficult for your eyes to adjust to low light. Use the dimmer switch in your vehicle to turn down the dashboard lights and improve your nighttime visibility in the process.
- Check your headlight ratings. Not all headlights are created equal. In fact, just over half of the 2018 vehicles evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did a good job of lighting the road and limiting glare. Check out the latest results of IIHS headlight tests and consider upgrading your headlight bulbs to gain more visibility.
- Leave the night driving glasses at home. Like many “As-Seen-On-TV” products, night driving glasses aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Tinted lenses can help during the day, but anything designed to limit light at night is counterintuitive. Your eyes will adjust to low light on their own. If it’s hard to see at night, try the above tips before investing in these yellow shades.
Statistically speaking, the most dangerous trips you take are the ones that happen after the sun goes down. Following these tips will keep your visibility at its best, helping you maintain a clear view of the road ahead.