There is no doubt that driving during the daylight hours is easier than driving at night. Night driving is especially dangerous for seniors because of decreased visual distance and increased sensitivity to glare. The contrast of darkness and the intensity of headlights can make stressful driving conditions and result in panic and poor decision-making. Many seniors and young drivers prefer not to drive at night and try to limit driving to the daytime. Sometimes, however, night driving cannot be avoided.
There are several steps that everyone can take to minimize glare at night and drive safely:
- Follow proper headlight guidelines. First, make sure that you are observing rules of safe night driving. Headlights should be used during all hours of darkness including at least one hour after sunrise and at least one hour before sunset.
- Use your rearview mirror’s “Night” setting. Flip the small lever on your rearview mirror to the “Night” setting to reduce glare from cars behind you.
- Care for your eyes during the day. Extensive exposure to sunlight or glare can affect your vision at night. Wear sunglasses during the daylight hours, and remove them when the sun goes down. When you drive at night, look in the center of your pathway and use the painted lines to guide your car.
- Keep your eyes moving. Do not just look in the middle of the lit area from your headlights. Watch for flashes of light at intersections, curves and the tops of hilly roads, indicating oncoming traffic.
- Look away from high beam headlights. Some drivers do not dim their high beam headlights, and the light can be blinding. Look to the right side of the road and focus on staying within the painted edge of your lane.
Minimize your stress and maximize your freedom on the road by following these safety tips. Your eyes are always changing, so make sure that you are visiting your ophthalmologist regularly for comprehensive eye exams. Night driving will be much safer when your prescription is perfectly fine-tuned (Source: AAA).