An enormous amount of British drivers are afraid to take to the roads when the sun goes down. That’s according to new research which examined the vision-related fears of motorists…
Afraid Of The Dark
Thirty-one percent of the 31 million drivers in the UK are afraid of driving at night. That’s according to a study conducted by Essilor, a lens manufacturer. It’s not hard to empathise, either. Driving in the dark is statistically much more challenging and dangerous. For instance, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 40% of all accidents take place in hours of darkness; that’s significant, given that far fewer journeys will be made in the early hours or in the late evening. In addition, it’s harder to detect hazards and glare poses a significant risk to safety. In fact, 300 collisions are year are caused by it.
Dr. Andy Hepworth. from Essilor, explained the challenges drivers face. He said, “with such short days in the winter – and driving conditions frequently made worse by the British weather – often people have no choice but to drive in the dark. But this means that we face glare from oncoming traffic and other light sources, which is arguably the biggest issue regarding the reduction or loss of visibility, and glasses lenses can actually create more reflections impacting your vision further.”
He added, “There are a couple of other factors that hinder your vision at night as well. If you try to see something in the presence of ‘over-bright lights’, this can cause your eyes to tear up, smearing your vision. Low-light levels lead to a reduction in the contrast of images”. He concluded, “combine the two and night driving can seem like a nightmare. If you’re dazzled by glare at night when you are travelling at a speed of around 60mph, it can almost double your stopping distance. That’s a significant difference.”
Improving Your Nighttime Vision
Whilst driving in the dark can be dangerous, and it certainly takes more effort and concentration, there are steps you can take to improve safety. Here are some recommended by Essilor…
Leave Plenty Of Space
Tailgating is always a big no-no. It’s dangerous, incredibly disrespectful and surveys continually reveal that it’s the biggest bug bear of most drivers. In the dark, however, it’s important that you leave even more space than you usually would. This is because it’s harder to judge speed and distances at night.
It’s hardly rocket science, but it’s important to drive more slowly in the dark than you would during the daytime. This will give you more time to react to hazards and obstacles. If you’re unsure about something, or you’re not confident in your vision, it’s important to safely reduce your speed or to come to a stop so you can adjust mirrors and lights.
Adjust Your Mirrors
The positioning of your mirrors can have a major impact on your vision during night driving. Dip your rear-view mirror in order to reduce the chances of glare. Otherwise, consider investing in one with auto-dimming capabilities.
Clean Your Windscreen
Visibility is reduced at night, you don’t want it reduced even more because your windscreen is dirty or smeared. Make sure to regularly clean it, inside and out, during darker months. Winter conditions mean that it’s more likely to become besmirched, making regular cleans even more important.
Get Anti-Glare Lenses
If you wear glasses, it’s absolutely worth investing in anti-glare lenses. Most opticians will be able to help you with these. They can make a real difference for drivers.
Don’t Dazzle Others
When it gets darker, you’ll find yourself using your full headlights more and more often. But it’s vital that you don’t dazzle other drivers. You should take a ‘dipping’ approach to them, rather than simply switching them on. When you see oncoming traffic, turn them down and in good time.
Let Your Eyes Adjust
This should be a pretty commonsense measure. When getting into your car, turn off the interior lights and let your eyes adjust for a bit. Doing this for just a minute or two before setting off on your journey can make a real difference to the quality of your vision.
How To Drive Safely In Winter Conditions – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/how-to-drive-safely-in-winter-conditions/
Highways England Is Switching Motorway Lights Back On – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/highways-england-is-switching-motorway-lights-back-on/