September 18, 2015|
Increased Night Driving Presents Challenges
What You Cannot See Can Hurt You
As we head into Fall, daylight is getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, drivers of all ages are having to refreshing their night driving skills and ensure their car, and in particular their lights, are ready for increased driving after dark.
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AAA recommendations for nighttime driving:
- Walk around your car at least once a month and check to ensure all your exterior lights are working properly. Replace them promptly if needed.
- When driving at night on unlit roadways, use high beams whenever possible.
- Monitor and adjust driving speeds when traveling on unlit roads at night to allow enough time to detect, react and stop the vehicle in order to avoid striking pedestrians, animals or objects in the roadway.
- If your car’s headlamp lenses are not crystal clear, have them restored, this will provide a noticeable increase in visibility, and reduce the glare for other motorist. The protective coating used on the plastics of modern lenses can slowly deteriorate and cloud after about five years, reducing light output and increasing light scatter which results in glare for other drivers.
- If headlight glare is an issue, have your eyes checked by a medical professional. A driver’s eyesight is critical in preventing car crashes, because nearly all the sensory input you need to drive a car comes from visual cues. If your eyesight is diminished, so is your ability to drive safely.
To minimize challenges of driving at night:
- Adjust your speed to the reach of your headlights. Do not “overdrive” your headlights by driving at a speed that wouldn’t allow you to stop for an obstacle at the far reaches of your headlights. Compensate for reduced visibility by decreasing your speed and increasing following distance behind the car in front of you.
- Keep your eyes moving. Do not focus on the middle of the area illuminated by your headlights. Watch for sudden flashes of light at hilltops, around curves or at intersections, because these may indicate the presence of oncoming vehicles.
- Focus on edges. In dim light during reduced visibility, focus on the edges or outlines of objects. Your eyes can pick up images more sharply this way than by looking directly at the object.
- Protect your eyes from glare. Prolonged exposure to glare from sunlight or headlights can temporarily affect your visibility at night. It can also lead to eyestrain and drowsiness. Wear good sunglasses on bright days and take them off as soon as the sun goes down. After steady daytime driving, rest awhile before you begin driving at night. At night, look to the center of your pathway and use the painted edge lines to guide your vehicle.
- Avoid being blinded by oncoming high beams. If the driver of an oncoming vehicle fails to dim the lights, look down toward the right side of the road to avoid being blinded. You should be able to see the edge of the lane or the painted edge line and stay on course until the vehicle passes.
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
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