Driving at night is a challenge for many drivers. Particularly as you get older, the glare from road lights, traffic signals, and oncoming drivers is enough to blind you for several seconds, long enough to result in serious and potentially life threatening car accidents and injuries. While some people have especially poor night vision or are more sensitive to headlight glare than others, it is a common problem all drivers struggle with to some extent. Knowing what to do to avoid glare and improve your vision at night is an important part of ensuring your own safety, as well as the safety of other drivers.
What Causes Headlight ‘Halos’ and Night Glare
Glare from streetlights and seeing headlight ‘halos’ that form on other vehicles is a common complaint among drivers, but what causes it? The eye care professionals at Rebuild Your Vision affirm that your pupils dilate in the dark, causing them to get larger and allowing more light to enter. Adjusting between dark and light can take anywhere from seconds to minutes, and every time a car goes by with their headlights on or you pass a bright street light, your eyes are required to adjust all over again, leaving you temporarily “blinded” and resulting in glare.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) states that while night glare affects almost all drivers, there are certain conditions that can make it worse. Cataracts, astigmatism, and recent Lasik surgery can all impair night vision, while the glare from High Intensity Discharge (HID) lights, uneven headlights, and lights mounted up higher on cars only make matters worse.
Tips For Preventing Glare At Night
While some drivers feel forced to avoid driving altogether after dark due to problems with night driving, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of bright light your eyes are forced to adjust to, while lessening the impact on your vision. The AAA recommends the following tips for preventing halos and glare:
- Clean your windshield, wiper blades, and mirrors, and make sure your washer fluid is full.
- Clean your headlights. The AAA states that even a small amount of dirt and grime can hinder your vision by as much as 90 percent.
- Use your rearview mirror night setting. Flip the lever at the base of the mirror to reduce glare from headlights behind you.
- Look slightly down and to the right when another car is approaching, rather than looking directly at their headlights.
- If driving long distances, take breaks to give your eyes a rest.
- Scan ahead of traffic, which helps you focus by helping your eyes stay moist.
- Have your vision checked regularly, and consider lenses with anti-glare coatings.