With the end of daylight savings time this month, you might find yourself driving home from work in less light. The approaching winter weather may create additional concerns about safe driving.
Navigating the roads safely can be especially difficult if you have dry eye, cataracts or other eye conditions that affect night vision, including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons cares deeply about your safety and well-being. In this post, we want to share some tips to help you navigate the roads safely and confidently at night.
Tips for Safe Driving at Night
Keep your car clean and in good repair. A dirty, foggy or damaged windshield can reduce visibility and cause glare on the streets at night. Dirt or damaged headlights can decrease your visibility and cast glare onto oncoming drivers. Keep your windshield clean and replace your wipers as needed. Clean your headlight coverings and lenses of dirt, snow and ice, and have them checked by a car dealer or repair facility to ensure they are correctly aligned.
Never stare directly at oncoming vehicles. Although you should always keep your eyes on the road, avoid staring at oncoming headlights. Instead, the National Safety Council recommends shifting your eyes down and to the right. Use the lane markings or the right edge of the road to help you maintain your driving position until the oncoming vehicle has passed.
Alter your interior lighting. Turn down your dashboard lights and turn off your interior lights to prevent them from distracting or disorienting you. Also, aim your air vents away from your face and eyes so that the air doesn’t dry out your eyes.
Slow down. The American Automobile Association (AAA) discourages drivers from “overdriving” the headlights, which is to say driving too quickly to stop for an object at the far reaches of your headlights. Decrease your speed and increase the following distance between you and the car in front of you.
Plan and adjust your routes. Plan out your trips before you leave home, and drive only on roads with which you are familiar. Try to avoid two-lane highways, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calls a “worst-case scenario” for nighttime glare. Give yourself plenty of extra driving time if road conditions are bad.
If you are still having difficulty driving at night, due to glare, halos or decreased visual distance, you might have a problem with your contact lenses, or the early stages of cataracts or another eye condition. You should see a trusted eye doctor to discuss solutions to your particular problem.