Don’t get dazzled by headlight glare
Being dazzled by someone’s headlights can be disorientating. We look into night-driving glasses and other ways to beat the glare.
Depth perception, ability to distinguish colour, and peripheral vision are worsened in low light conditions.
However, with the introduction of xenon headlights, a driver’s view of the road is more illuminated than it ever has been.
This is great news for drivers, but not so good for other road users who can become dazzled by bright headlights.
To combat this, manufacturers have created ‘night-driving glasses’ which intend to minimise the glare from headlights. But are these a safe investment?
Tinted night-driving glasses
The amber tint to the glasses claims to reduce the glare and improve contrast, making it easier for drivers to see.
However, as the glasses reduce the glare of headlights, light in general is also reduced. This makes objects in the darker parts of the highway almost indistinguishable.
Needless to say, these glasses aren’t recommended by opticians, as the tinted lenses seem to hinder vision rather than help it.
Other ways to cope with glare
There are many safer alternatives than night-driving glasses.
Ensure that your windscreen is clean, inside and out. When a glass surface is dirty or streaked, any light that hits it can scatter and create glare. This should be a priority day or night, as a dirty windscreen can obscure objects on the road.
Don’t look directly at the glare from oncoming traffic. If the glare is too much, look down to the right at the white line. This can act as a guide to the road shape. Once passed, focus back on the road ahead.
Keep your headlights clean. The outer casing of your headlights can become dirty over time. Giving them a once-over will increase your visibility to other motorists. As well as better illuminating the road ahead. If there’s no white line, look at where the edge of the highway meets the road.
Reduce the brightness of the dashboard lights. This should limit reflections, and stop you having to readjust your eyes from the dark road to the dashboard.
Look after your eyes
Sometimes it’s not down to the vehicle. Try to keep your eyes moving to different areas of the road ahead, rather than fixated in one spot. This will reduce the effects of eye fatigue.
If you wear glasses, make sure they’re clean and scratch-free, as this can affect vision too.
Tiredness can also affect vision, so make sure to take regular breaks.
You should also get an eye test every two years. Often the condition of our eyesight decreases slowly over time, so it can be difficult to distinguish changes.
Keep headlights in tip-top shape
It’s important to keep your headlights in good condition when driving.
When approaching someone on the highway, you should dip your lights as soon as you see their headlights.
This applies when you see the rear brake lights too, as headlights can dazzle drivers when they check their rear-view mirror.
First published on the 19th of December 2017