Driving at Night

Night driving is more dangerous than day driving.

One reason is that some drivers are likely to be impaired — by alcohol or drugs, with night vision problems, or by fatigue.

Here are some tips on night driving.

• Drive defensively.
• Do not drink and drive.
• Adjust the inside rearview mirror to reduce the glare from headlamps behind you.
• Since you cannot see as well, you may need to slow down and keep more space between you and other vehicles.
• Slow down, especially on higher speed roads.

Your vehicle’s headlamps can light up only so much road ahead.

• In remote areas, watch for animals.
• If you are tired, pull off the road in a safe place and rest.

No one can see as well at night as in the daytime.

But as we get older these differences increase.

A 50-year-old driver may require at least twice as much light to see the same thing at night as a 20-year-old.

What you do in the daytime can also affect your night vision. For example, if you spend the day in bright sunshine you are wise to wear sunglasses. Your eyes will have less trouble adjusting to night. But if you are driving, do not wear sunglasses at night. They may cut down on glare from headlamps, but they also make a lot of things invisible.

You can be temporarily blinded by approaching headlamps. It can take a second or two, or even several seconds, for your eyes to re-adjust to the dark. When you are faced with severe glare, as from a driver who does not lower the high beams, or a vehicle with misaimed headlamps, slow down a little. Avoid staring directly into the approaching headlamps.

Keep the windshield and all the glass on your vehicle clean — inside and out. Glare at night is made much worse by dirt on the glass. Even the inside of the glass can build up a film caused by dust. Dirty glass makes lights dazzle and flash more than clean glass would, making the pupils of your eyes contract repeatedly.

Remember that the headlamps light up far less of a roadway when you are in a turn or curve. Keep your eyes moving; that way, it is easier to pick out dimly lighted objects. Just as the headlamps should be checked regularly for proper aim, so should your eyes be examined regularly. Some drivers suffer from night blindness—the inability to see in dim light—and are not even aware of it.

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