Tips for Driving Safely in the Dark

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The roads might be emptier at night, but driving is definitely more difficult. Try these tips to stay safe on even the darkest roads.

Dim Your Dashboard

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Did you know that most dashboards have a dimmer switch? That colorful LED display might be creating reflections on your windshield and making it difficult to drive. If you can’t find your dimmer switch, talk to your mechanic. Turning down the lights on your dashboard will let you drive safely and distraction-free.

Look Away from Oncoming Lights

When you’re in the passenger seat, there’s nothing more relaxing than watching a stream of headlights go by. But if you’re the driver, looking straight at those lights can actually make it hard to see the darker parts of the road. Don’t stare directly at oncoming headlights; a quick glance should be enough to let you know the position of the other cat.

Clean Your Windshield and Mirrors

Smudges on your windshield can cause irregular reflections and make strange shapes appear in the darkness. There isn’t a ghost following your car, but there might be mud on the glass. Clean your windshield, windows, and rearview mirrors on a consistent basis. Use glass cleaner and paper towels for a smudge-free shine.

Realign Your Headlights

Headlights that aren’t pointing in the right direction won’t give you an accurate view of the road ahead. Headlights fall out of alignment all the time; you can either fix them yourself or ask your mechanic for help. Take your time to make sure that the light is pointed directly in front of your car. You should also clean your headlights to ensure that you’re getting the most light possible.

Add Extra Lights to Your Car

Depending on where you live, you might be able to add extra lights to the outside of your car. Fog lights are placed low on your car to light the area under a cloud of fog. Other auxiliary lights can be used to illuminate your blind spots or the space behind your car. Choose lights that are made to be used on the road, and always check the legal restrictions in your area.

Watch for Animal Retinas

Wild animals have dark coats and are very difficult to see at night. However, no amount of fur can cover up the bright reflection of light in an animal’s eyes. All animals reflect light to a certain extent; look far ahead on the road to see these tiny yellow spots, and take care to avoid them.

Wear Anti-Reflective Glasses

Normally, glasses help you see more clearly. But if you have scratched, cheap, or outdated lenses, your vision correction might be making your eyesight worse at night. Clean your glasses before you get behind the wheel. If you keep noticing problems, talk to your eye doctor about getting a pair of glasses with an anti-reflective coating. Never use tinted lenses, as they will reduce the amount of light you see and make it hard to tell objects apart from each other.

Visit the Eye Doctor

Night driving puts a serious strain on your eyes. Even if you don’t have noticeable vision problems, you should still visit your eye doctor once every two to three years to make sure that your eyes are healthy. Your optometrist will be able to recommend eye exercises, prescribe anti-reflection lenses, and even check you for problems that might make it difficult to see at night.