Driving at night can be daunting, even for experienced drivers. Here are some ways of handling nighttime glares.
When the same road is viewed during the day and at night, the difference can be as stark as — well — day and night!
After the sun sets, our depth perception is reduced, making it more difficult to judge distance, thus our ability to see colours and our peripheral vision are also compromised.
On top of all these, drivers still have to deal with the glare from the headlights of other vehicles, both oncoming as well as from behind. Such glare can be dangerous as it can cause discomfort or even momentary blindness in a driver.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce glare when driving at night:
Flip the rear-view mirror
If the lights of the car behind you are blindingly bright, adjust your rear-view mirror to the night setting by flipping a small lever located at the bottom. You can still see the lights, but they will appear much dimmer.
Look to the left
To avoid looking directly at the headlights of an oncoming vehicle, shift your gaze to the left and focus on the pavement or white line. This way, you can use your peripheral vision to see oncoming cars.
Adjust both side mirrors
When your side mirrors are properly aligned, they reduce blind spots as well as glare from vehicles behind you. To do this, lean to the right and rest your head against the window, then adjust the driver side mirror so that you can just see the right rear corner of your vehicle. When you are done, lean to the left, towards the centre of the vehicle, and adjust your passenger side mirror until the left rear corner of the vehicle is just visible.
Turn off the lights inside your vehicle
It is unsafe to drive with the interior lights on as lights inside your car can make it seem extra bright and decrease your ability to see what’s happening outside. So keep the cabin lights off when driving at night.
Slow down at bends
If you are coming to a bend, slow down, as a sudden flash of headlights coming around a corner can blind you and take you by surprise. Take it slow so that you give yourself sufficient time to react in a safe manner.
Keep your windshield clean
A windshield with smudges or streaks can reduce the contrast of objects on the road and make them appear invisible. Dirt markings will also refract light at odd angles and worsen the glare. So keep both sides of your windshield clean to avoid these problems. Keep a microfibre cloth handy in your door pocket for quick wipes. Any chips or cracks must be repaired immediately.
Have your vision checked regularly
Certain vision conditions — dry eye, cataracts, macular degeneration, etc — may heighten the effects of glare. Get your eyes checked every two years (once a year if you are over 60). If eye conditions are detected early, you are more likely to get effective treatment to help you cope better. If you wear glasses, you can opt for anti-reflective coating to be added to your prescription lenses to reduce light and glare. Keep your glasses clean and scratch-free to reduce the chance of blurry vision, glare or reflections.
Be mindful of other drivers
On your part, you can also take simple steps to avoid blinding other drivers. Use high beams only when necessary. If another driver is using high beams and fails to dim the lights as you approach, slow down and just make sure you have your car under control.