There are many drivers on the road that have difficulty driving at night. Why is this?
There is actually a medical condition that relates to this. It is called nyctalopia. Or commonly referred to as night blindness. When a person’s retina is damaged or not functioning correctly, this kind of blindness can become an issue. The retina allows for you to see light in dim conditions. But when it is damaged, the retina has dark pigment that causes the eye not to adjust correctly in those conditions. This is a real issue with many who drive.
There has been claims made that using night vision driving glasses can make your vision better. We are speaking about the different tinted lenses that are on the market these days. You may have seen or know people who use the yellow lenses at night. Sadly, there is no evidence to support that these lenses actually improve one’s vision at night.
The major problem that persons with night blindness express is the issue of glare. The glare coming from other vehicle’s head lights can cause issues with seeing street signs, highway markers, and even pedestrians.
We spoke about this issue of night vision problems with a tow truck service provider. They were able to give us some valuable insight. There are some tips that can be done to help minimize some of this for yourself – and for other drivers on the road with you.
Pay attention to your windshield. Is it clean? Streaks, dust, and dirt will cause light to blur when it hits your windshield. Often, just using your washer blades to clean your windshield isn’t enough. There are glass cleaners available that will make a huge difference. You also need to clean the inside of your windshield periodically as well. Dust, streaks, grime, and fingerprints collect there as well. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe off any dirt from the inside and then, using the other side of the microfiber, spray a bit of glass cleaner on it and wipe using circular motion on the interior windshield surface.
When you are driving with oncoming traffic, the headlights can be very bright and cause glare. You can even feel temporarily blinded, if they are bright enough. A really good tip is to direct your eyes elsewhere to focus. Try looking to the right slightly. Don’t look directly into others headlights. Once they have passed, then you can look straight ahead again. If someone’s headlights are too bright in your rear-view mirror, tilting the mirror down will take care of that annoyance for you. Most rear-view mirrors have a tab that you can tap to make that very easy to do, without distracting you from the road.
You can also dim your cabin lights. This can help when you have bright light coming from your dashboard. Keep any overhead lights off, even if your passenger wants to read. They shouldn’t be reading in the dark anyways!
You also need to make sure your headlights are clean. Using the same glass cleaner, you can wipe them off and remove any dirt and grime. Keeping them clean will help you see better ahead of you, especially in dark, unlit areas. Winter time is a season that you should really be watching for dirt build up on them. Our roads will produce grime and slushy conditions will dim them down significantly.
Make sure your headlights are aligned correctly as well. You can check their position by shining them on a wall ahead of you, to see if they are pointing off at any angle. This is really important for both you and other drivers on the road. If you notice them off, get them realigned correctly as soon as possible.
And make sure you are checking in with yourself. By this we mean, check on your fatigue. Your eyes need to rest as much as the rest of your body. Never over do it. Coffee, chewing gum or energy drinks don’t really cut it here. Know what your limit is and plan your driving accordingly.
And please, please, drive according to the posted speed limit. Going faster than that will put you and others at risk in the dark. You can only see as far as you can in the dark, so this should be common sense. You can come up on a road hazard quickly. Which will put more than just yourself at risk. So please slow down.