A Modern Car With Bright Led Headlights. Generic Driving Car Lig
November 28th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
The shorter days of autumn are upon us, which means drivers must adjust to navigating the roads in the dark. Driving at night presents a unique set of challenges: our depth perception is affected, as well as our ability to recognize colors and to see what’s around the corner. Drivers are tired, their vision is reduced, some are intoxicated, and most everyone is in a hurry to get wherever they’re going. Throw in some rain and blinding headlights, and you get the picture. If you’re not alert, car driving at night is an accident waiting to happen.
In 2018, according to data analyzed by the National Safety Council (NSC), nearly 70 percent of all fatal car crashes that year took place between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see the correlation: Nighttime driving, when you’re tired and your vision is impaired, can increase your risk of getting in an accident.
To reduce this risk, maximize your ability to see at night by practicing these driving at night tips:
1. Properly align your headlights.
Headlights can sometimes get out of alignment, especially in cars with a lot of mileage. This can lead to lights pointing in different directions or pointing lower or higher than they should. If you decide to align your headlights on your own, follow the instructions in your owner’s manual. Otherwise, play it safe and have a professional do it for you.
“The low-beam cutoff (a) should be slightly below the center of the lens (b) to keep glare out of oncoming traffic and reduce the light reflection that occurs during rainy or snowy weather.”
2. Avoid staring at oncoming lights.
At nighttime, bright lights can disrupt your concentration and blind you to other cars or obstacles in the road. To avoid these problems, train yourself to avoid looking directly at the headlights of oncoming vehicles. Also, don’t let yourself get distracted by bright lights on the side of the road.
3. Dim your interior lights.
minimize the distraction by dimming interior lights
Instrument panel and dashboard lights may not seem like a distraction, but they can compromise your ability to see what’s going on outside the car. Today’s cars have buttons or control knobs that make it easy to adjust these lights.
Turn them down low enough to minimize the distraction, but not so low that you can’t read the instrument panel.
4. Keep your windshield clean.
If you think a dirty windshield impairs your vision during the daytime (it does!), it makes it twice as hard to see at night. Keep the inside and outside of your windshield clean, as well as your driver- and passenger-side windows. It also helps to keep side-view mirrors clean. Using newspaper will help clean the glass without leaving streaks that can disrupt your night vision.
5. Use fog lights.
If you live in an area with frequent foggy nights (or even mornings!), consider installing fog lights. Or, if you have them, turn them on! These are relatively inexpensive to buy and install, and they help you see better by spreading light wider than typical low-beam headlights. Make sure to properly aim them so they don’t blind oncoming drivers.
6. Get your sleep.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), younger drivers, especially men and shift workers, are most at risk of getting into a sleep-related car accident. Drivers with untreated sleep apnea or narcolepsy are also at risk. According to National Sleep Foundation research, 60 percent of adults have driven while tired, and over a million drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel.
The foundation provides these tips to avoid driving while tired:
- Get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
- If you’re feeling tired, pull over safely and take a nap.
- If you have been awake for more than 16 hours straight, do not drive.
- Driving in the dark uninterrupted for more than two hours is not a good idea. Take a break and get some fresh air.
7. Be hyper-focused during rush hour.
According to the National Safety Council, rush hour is always a dangerous time to drive. These risks are even greater during fall and winter, when it gets dark much earlier. To enhance your safety during rush hour, they recommend:
- Slow down and don’t be in a hurry.
- Stay in your lane and be on the lookout for lane switchers.
- Don’t talk on your phone or allow yourself to get distracted.
- Be aware of what’s happening directly in front of you and up ahead.
8. Use smart technology to see better at night.
Headlight technology is rapidly evolving. Witness the growing popularity of adaptive headlights, a sensor-based safety feature that helps drivers see better – and be seen – in dark and low-light situations. When you’re driving in the dark, the sensors are an extra pair of eyes and ears. If you encounter a low-light situation such as a poorly lit road, your headlights will automatically rotate for enhanced vision. Adaptive headlights are becoming more affordable and over time will hopefully come equipped as a standard feature on more cars.
Following our driving at night tips and always practicing safe driving will help you avoid a car accident. But sometimes, you can do all the right things and still, through no fault of your own, get rear-ended by a distracted driver. We hope that doesn’t happen to you. But if it does, Fix Auto USA is open for business and ready to serve you. Our expertly trained technicians will take good care of you so you can get on the road again, safely.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Santa Clara East, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop serving Santa Clara East, Alviso, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Milpitas, Mountain View, Fremont, Campbell, Newark, and surrounding communities.
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