You need to be able to see if you want to drive, and while eyesight troubles can affect us at any age, they become more prevalent as we age. So first thing’s first: Take care of your eyes. Make vision checkups a part of your regular medical routine, and keep your prescription up to date if you wear glasses. If you want to drive safe at any time of the day, let alone at night, that’s step one. With that being said, there are plenty of things that you can do to manage the dangers of driving at night. So what are they?
- Keep all the glass spotless. That means your windshield, windows, headlights, mirrors and, yes, your glasses. You can use a sheet of newspaper on windows and mirrors to help reduce the glare that comes from other headlights. Detailers often use this trick to put the finishing touches on your car.
- Check your headlights. If they’re starting to fade or flicker, then it may be time to replace them. Rear lights should be checked, as well, since this is how people will be able to spot you on the road when they’re coming up from behind.
- Be aware of compounding factors. We don’t need to tell you how rough winters can get in Wisconsin, and the snow and ice bring a lot of extra danger with them, especially at night. Give yourself ten times as much stopping space on icy roads, and try not to get hypnotized when driving through falling snow. It’s best not to drive in the snow in the first place, as even light snow can turn stormy without warning, but if you must, apply ten times the caution that you would in normal driving conditions.
- Never drive tired. If you’re a little worn out, rolling down the windows or turning on the A/C can keep you alert, but if you’re feeling drowsy, find somewhere to take a nap before you hit the road.
- Dim or eliminate interior lights: cell phones, dashboards, screens. You need to maintain your night-vision, and bright interior lights can trick your eyes into thinking it’s daylight outside of the car. To that end, try not to look right at oncoming headlights. You need to keep your eyes adjusted to the lower lighting outside the car.
Finally, the best tip we can give you will be this one: Just don’t drive at night. Okay, that’s not always an option. If you work a night shift, if you have to deal with a late night emergency, if you’re the designated driver, you might not have a choice. But if at all possible, plan your trips for the daytime. Failing that, at least give yourself the extra time to plan a safe trip. Leave a half hour early, and you can drive slower to adjust for the lower response time you’ll have on dark roads, and you can plan your trip around well-lit streets even if the route takes longer. Serious accidents tend to triple after dark, so anything that you can do to manage the added danger of driving at night is going to give you a better chance at getting where you’re going safely.