Tips for Dealing With Driving at Night
By Paul Rothbart
Humans tend to rely on vision more than any other sense. This is particularly true when driving. Looking far down the road, viewing from side to side, and using mirrors to check behind and to the sides is vital to safety. Driving at night presents a new set of problems. This is especially true for aging adults as night vision tends to diminish first. It can be scary and dangerous. A simple solution is to avoid driving at night. There will be times that a trip in the dark is necessary. Here are some things you need to know.
Night Driving Problems
The eyes need light to see. That's a basic fact. At night there is no sunlight. Headlights and streetlights are helpful, but they cannot match the brightness of daylight. The headlights of cars coming toward you can be blinding as can the reflection on your mirrors of those following. These lights also create shadows. Upcoming curves can be difficult to see as can animals or other obstacles that may be on the road. Backroads without lights can be especially hazardous. It's important to reduce speed to give yourself more time to see and react to any situation. Posted speed limits are intended for 100 percent visibility which you never have at night. Play it safe.
Night Driving and Aging Eyes
There are cells in the eyes called rods that help to sense dark and light. As we age, the number of rods in our eyes is reduced. This makes seeing at night more difficult. Another problem that occurs as we get older is that the lenses can get hard and cloud, making focusing a challenge. The eyes also become more affected by glare. It is important to be aware of changes in vision over time. It's the first step in fixing the problem.
Tips to Help Night Driving
One of the best things you can do is to see an optometrist and get a pair of prescription glasses for night driving. These can improve focus and make driving in the dark safer. It's also a good idea to eat foods that promote eye health. Carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes are some excellent choices. Be sure to get sufficient sleep. Driving when tired makes the situation much worse. Eyes that are half-closed are not going to see very well. Keeping your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean is a good idea in any situation and will help with night vision. Always be mindful of the difficulties you experience when driving at night and don't hesitate to avoid it should that become necessary.
Driving presents a number of challenges to safety. Night driving adds more to the mix. Be aware of visibility problems in the dark and take the steps to correct them. It could save your life and the lives of others.
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