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Night Driving

Tips to Improve Your Night Vision

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Updated June 11, 2014

Driving in the dark

Driving at Night

Chase Jarvis / Getty Images
Night driving is difficult for many people. Driving in the dark is much different from driving during the daylight hours. The human eye's field of vision is much smaller without the help of natural light. If you must drive at night and feel less than confident, the following tips will help you improve your night vision and reach your destination safely.

  • Take your time.

    Allow your eyes a chance to adjust to the darkness before you start driving. It takes a few minutes for the pupils to fully dilate, allowing for maximum light to enter the eye. The more light your pupils let enter the eye, the better your vision will be.

  • Minimize glare.

    Look to the bottom right of the road to avoid approaching headlights. (Some headlights are blindingly bright.) Also use the night setting on your rearview mirror to deflect the glare from vehicles behind you. Older drivers find it more difficult to see at night because it takes longer for them to recover from glare.

  • Keep it dark.

    Turn off all interior lights. Any source of light inside the car will seem extremely bright and will make it more difficult to see.

  • Slow down.

    Reduce your driving speed to give yourself longer to react if something happens on the road in front of you. Driving at a slower speed will also give you more confidence.

  • Tune it up.

    Keep your car in tip-top shape for maximum safety. Regularly check fluid levels, tire pressure and brake pads. Thoroughly clean headlights, taillights and signal lights. Make sure all windows are clean on both the inside and outside.

Your ability to see in the dark depends on several factors, including the health and visual acuity of your eyes. Certain conditions, such as dry eye syndrome, can make night driving more difficult. Artificial tears are sometimes helpful. Remember that depth perception, visual acuity, color recognition and peripheral vision are all compromised in the dark. Older drivers have even greater difficulty seeing at night.

Source:

National Safety Council. Driving at Night. NSC.org, Nov 2004.

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