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Top tips - driving safely at night

It’s December and it can feel like it is almost always dark. Our short winter days mean that we are likely to spend more time driving in night time conditions than usual.

Many of us struggle with driving in the dark and it’s certainly harder to see properly than during the day.

Because of this, we’ve decided to put together some tips and pointers to improve your vision for night time driving.

Limit your daytime exposure to UV

Wear sunglasses during the day to reduce your exposure to UV rays. Less exposure to UV rays will greatly improve your vision later at night. It is also a good habit to get into for your overall eye health.

Exercise your eyes

Your eyes can suffer from fatigue whilst driving in the dark. To help minimize the effects of tired eyes, scan your field of vision rather than focusing solely on the road immediately ahead of you.

Properly aim and maintain your front lights

Check that your lights are focused properly and not set too low. Properly focusing your beam is not just a wise move to assist your vision, it’s also safer. By using your manufacturer’s handbook you’ll be able to adjust this yourself.

Clean your lights regularly to remove the dirt and dust which cause reduced brightness to emit from your lights. Also be aware that older incandescent bulbs give off less light than newer ones.

Keep your windscreen clean

Similarly, it’s important to keep your windscreen clean. Remove dirt, dust and smears to make sure you have the best possible visibility. 

Don’t touch the inside of your windscreen

It’s a mistake that many of us make, but you shouldn’t smudge the inside of the windscreen, windows or wing mirrors with your hands, not even to remove condensation. Oil from your skin transfers onto the glass and causes light to glare when it shines through the smears. Instead, use a microfiber cloth if you ever need to wipe the inside of your windscreen. 

Dim the lights on your dashboard display

In motorsport, endurance racers often cover their dashboards with black felt to stop reflections from the display lights. Whilst that’s an extreme measure for day to day driving it provides a lesson about the impact your dashboard display lights have on your eyes whilst driving at night. If it’s possible to dim the lights on your dashboard it’s a worthwhile measure to take. The same goes for your sat nav, many now have a night mode and you should switch this on when driving in the dark.

Avoid looking at oncoming headlights

This may sound obvious, but it’s important to remember. When oncoming traffic approaches, it’s best to keep your gaze straight ahead, trying to avoid looking directly at the headlights. Staring at bright lights temporarily affects your vision in the dark and as we get older it becomes progressively more difficult to adjust from bright to dim light.

Have an eye test

Regular eye tests are a sensible step to take and just like a visit to the dentist or a check-up with your GP, an eye test should be part of your regular health checks. Book an appointment today.

Book an eye test