Does it seem like it's harder to drive at night than it used to be? It's not your imagination! As we age, the amount of light needed to see clearly doubles roughly every 13 years.
You can make night driving more enjoyable (or at least less stressful) with these five tips:
- Carry ready-to-use glass wipes. Filmy buildup on the inside of your windshield can amplify glare. With the wipes, you don't have to wait until you get home to clean the windshield.
- De-fog your headlights. If your car's headlight covers have grown yellow and hazy with age, they can reduce visibility by up to 80%! A detailer can help, but you can tackle the job yourself with a headlight restoration kit, available at most auto-parts stores. Or, for an even cheaper fix, try buffing your headlight covers with ordinary white toothpaste. The mild abrasive can temporarily cut through the fog without scratching and give you clearer headlights.
- Think night visibility when choosing your next car. Adaptive headlights that turn with your steering wheel and light-sensitive mirrors that adjust to conditions can make it easier to see both traffic and pedestrians after dark. Also make sure the instrument panel has a good dimmer.
- Keep your eyeglasses prescription current (get your eyes checked every year). When choosing glasses, avoid styles with wide side arms at the temples that can block peripheral vision. Also, ask your eye care provider if early stage cataracts or dry eye could be impacting your night vision. Both can contribute to problems with glare and halos.
- Adjust your driving habits. Alter your routes to favor well-lighted streets. Postpone nighttime trips, if possible, during bad weather. Increase following distances by a couple of extra car lengths, and at intersections, turn your head rather than relying on peripheral vision to spot cross traffic.