As the dark winter nights draw in, many of our customers are asking for tips on how to drive at night, especially when the lack of light can highlight vision issues. Many of us are not familiar with driving in the dark, and unfortunately in many situations driving at night can not always be avoided. However, there are ways to improve safety and help you stay safe.
Clean Your Windows and Mirrors.
Sounds super simple but it’s a great place to start. We often forget to clean our windows, mirrors and our own glasses.
Reduce the Impact of Glare
During the hours of darkness, car headlights, street lighting and even the reflection of light from wet roads can cause significant glare issues. Glare is very dangerous when driving, as it causes our pupils to rapidly constrict which leads to momentary blindness as we adjust to the change in light. Although it may only be for a few seconds it can be very dangerous, especially in low light or darkness when our eyes are already working harder.
As we age, our eye’s ability to adapt to light and momentary glare worsens and you may find that you begin to struggle more. Although this is usually a natural part of aging, as optometrists we can check for underlying issues such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and presbyopia and we can prescribe the correct lenses.
Adjust Your Interior Lights
Driving at night will put a strain on your eyes, so you should look for ways to reduce this as much as possible. A great tip is to reduce the level of lighting within your interior, as the constant adjustment between your interior and the darkness outside will increase the stain your eyes are under. Wherever possible turn off your GPS and lower the lighting of your instrumental controls, as this will help to match the level of light inside your car to the outside conditions.
Treating Dry Eyes
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition which can be more prevalent during the winter months, as the cold weather can dry our eyes out. If you are experiencing dry and irritated eyes when driving, point the heating vents away from your face and always keep eye drops inside your car. However, if the problem persists, you may have a blocked gland or duct, which will need clearing to rebalance the moisture levels in your eyes. As always, an optometrist should be your first point of call if you are struggling with any issues.
Choose the Correct Glasses
It is important that you have your eyes tested regularly, so that your vision is the best it can be when driving. Whether you are short-sighted, long-sighted or a combination of the two, the correct prescription will help to keep you safe during both day and night driving.
There is a common misconception that yellow tinted glasses will reduce glare, however at night they can actually make your vision worse by darkening shadows. Instead, we recommend specially designed anti-glare lenses which our optometrists can prescribe at your next appointment.
Make sure you keep yourself safe behind the wheel. ROSPA estimate that 40% of road traffic collisions happen during nighttime hours and many of these can be avoided. If you do struggle with night-time driving we can help you with your vision and look at options for different lens to help you. Find your local branch by clicking here.