We recently had Winter Solstice (21st December), which is the day that has the least amount of daylight annually. Whether we are driving to see our family and friends over Christmas and New Year, or we’re spending time commuting to work, seeing the road clearly in the darkness is a much more difficult task.
Driving With Visual Distraction
When you drive at night, do you notice that your vision is blurred or haloed, especially with on-coming traffic or lights? Are you finding yourself squinting and working hard to see the road?
Night vision is the ability to see well in low-light conditions. As we age, we have greater difficulty seeing at night. Our eyes sense light with two different types of cells—rods and cones. Rod cells work best in low light. If you’re over 40, this may be more of a problem than it used to be.
A 50-year-old driver may need twice as much light as a 30-year-old. According to the American Optometric Association, people aged 60 and over can find driving even more difficult. Other factors can contribute to compromised vision at night, such as cataracts or degenerative eye diseases.
Our night vision can also be impaired by sudden glares of light coming from oncoming cars, traffic lights, street lights, amongst others. These things constantly cause our eyes to adjust, which in turn leaves split seconds of impaired vision between adjustments.
Tips for driving at night, from the National Safety Council
- Aim your headlights correctly and make sure they’re clean
- Dim your dashboard
- Look away from oncoming lights
- If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective
- Clean the windshield to eliminate streaks
- Minimise distractions, like talking with passengers or listening to the radio
- Check with your doctor about side effects of prescription drugs
- Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time
What Can Be Done To Help My Vision?
Whatever your age, there are things that can improve your sight at night. Often there are simple adjustments that can be made to your eyeglasses or contacts prescription that help. If you’re concerned about your vision as you drive at night, schedule an appointment with your local optometrist. If your night vision is seriously impaired avoid night driving altogether, and organise an appointment with your local medical eye specialist.
If you are finding it difficult to drive at night, or have experienced significant loss in vision, you can arrange a consultation with a member of our expert team by clicking below: