Driving at night can be a bit scary, especially when there are added conditional factors that further limit visibility like rain and snow. We all need to be extra cautious when driving at night, but this goes double for people experiencing vision impairment due to age. Driving at night introduces some extra risks, but they are risks that can be managed here’s how:
If you have the option, head out while the sun is still shining. The best solution for night driving is to not drive at night. Keep an eye on the weather, as well. Leave before a rainstorm hits, and you’ll be that much safer on the road.
Even if you don’t have the option of leaving while it’s bright and dry out, leaving early is still a good idea since you’ll be able to drive slower, so you’ll have more time to react to whatever happens out there. With more time to plan out your trip, you have the choice of sticking to well-lit roads and driving at a safe, comfortable speed.
Practice Basic Maintenance
Car problems are made worse by limited visibility. Keeping your headlights, mirrors, windshield, and windows clean should be a top priority if you’re going to be driving at night. Now, this might sound kind of odd, but wiping your windshield down with a newspaper can actually help to reduce nighttime glare by scrubbing away the residue that tends to catch oncoming headlights.
If your headlights are looking kind of dim, it may be time to replace them. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to upgrade your lights even if they’re still working just fine. Night vision headlights and fog lamps can be a great help for nighttime driving.
Testing your brakes will help you to stay safe, too. Most brake pads will last anywhere from 25,000 to 70,000 miles. Your pads should be thicker than a quarter inch, or else they need replacing.
Reduce Light Distractions Inside the Car
Bright dashboard lights may be pretty, but they can mess up your natural night vision, tricking your eyes into thinking it’s much brighter than it is, and preventing your eyes from adjusting to the lower light outside the car. Even someone in the passenger seat playing with their phone can affect your nighttime vision, so dim all the necessary interior lights like dashboard and GPS, and eliminate all the unnecessary interior lights.
On that note, try to avoid looking directly at other people’s headlights on the road. Your eyes will naturally adjust to lower lighting but can adjust right back to bright lights very quickly, leaving you essentially blind on the road.
Get Your Vision Tested
We don’t always know that we have vision problems right away. Getting your vision tested along with your regular medical checkups will let you know if you need glasses before you find out the hard way that you need glasses.
Driving at any time of the day, in any weather, in any conditions, is always going to come with some inherent danger. But, it’s usually danger that we can manage, danger that we can handle, as long as we apply a little bit of foresight and planning. Try not to drive at night, but if you don’t have a choice, these tips should help you to stay safe.