Perhaps you remember been a young driver and enjoying spending time out late with friends. Now you’re a bit older and far more experienced behind the wheel. Nevertheless, you dread driving. Going out after dark means it’s harder to see well, and that means you’re at an increased risk of an accident.
Eye Quality Changes Over Time
As we get older, our vision significantly changes. It’s not uncommon for people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to have difficulty seeing at night as a result. You may notice changes in your vision such as having trouble reading signs. Other times, these changes may not be so obvious. You may experience glares off wet surfaces that make it hard to see. You may feel the roadways are just too dark, with limited sight. If you recognize these changes, it’s time to consider a few tips to help you drive safely at night.
You May Not Need to Stop Driving
The thought of being unable to drive worries some people. Though significant vision changes and difficulty seeing in front of you may mean it’s safer to stay off the road. For others, there are a few tips that can help you to remain a safe driver even as your vision changes.
First, See a Vision Specialist
It’s important to ensure your eyes are healthy. You may benefit from a pair of nighttime glasses or contact lenses. You may also find yourself in need of an update to an existing prescription. The good news is this is a simple fix and one that lets you get back on the road safely.
Make Sure Your Vehicle Gives You the Help You Need
Another important step is to ensure your vehicle is ready for the nighttime driving you do. With a few updates, you can better prepare yourself for driving in the dark.
- Always make sure your headlights are working. Stop in to see the local auto parts store technician. They may recommend a brighter bulb that can increase the distance of light as well as the clarity of the roadway in front of you.
- Check to make sure you have good windshield wipers on your car. Wet conditions make driving at night very difficult. Newer products are also more effective and don’t leave streaks.
- Be sure your lights are clean, too. The plastic around them can become wet or dirty, making it hard for light to pass through them. Replace any cracked light shields, too.
Driving Defensively Is a Learned Skill
Nighttime driving means driving with more focus on the road and more care. It’s always important to drive a bit slower at night. Not only is your vision limited, but this is also when larger animals in our area are active. Keep a bigger distance between you and the car in front of you. Try to aim for the middle of your side of the road, staying away from those near to you.
It’s also important to make good decisions. Fog, snow, rain, or other conditions make it difficult to drive well. When these are occurring, just don’t get on the road. Stay a bit longer where you are until conditions improve. If you do have to drive when conditions are not ideal, be sure to stick to main thoroughfares that are better lit and more likely to be kept in good condition.
Recognize that driving at night isn’t always easy. This is very true as you get older, but can happen to all drivers. It takes just a few minutes, though, to make better decisions that can keep you and your family safe.