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To state the obvious, seeing clearly is a key factor to safe driving. In fact, nearly 90 percent of your reaction ability while driving relies on sight – and not surprisingly, your ability to see goes down significantly at night. As the sun goes down so do your depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision. On top of a decrease in vision, we are just naturally not as alert at night.
- Stay awake – Make sure you are well rested before driving and avoid taking any medications that might make you drowsy. Also, watch what you eat. Foods high in carbohydrates are more likely to make you sleepy.
- Bring a friend – Try not to drive alone, particularly at night when you might become too tired to focus. Friendly conversation will help keep you awake; plus, you can share driving duties.
- Let your eyes adjust – Give your eyes some time to adjust to the darkness before you drive. It takes a few minutes for your pupils to fully dilate in the darkness.
- Minimize glare – Glare is not only annoying while driving but can be very dangerous. If you wear glasses, make sure you have a no-glare treatment to minimize glare. Wearing polarized sunglasses while driving during the day will also help cut out glare.
- Turn off interior lights – When it’s dark out, lights inside your car can seem extra bright and can make it more difficult to see.
- Slow down – Driving at a slower speed will give you more time to react if something happens on the road in front of you.
- Clean your windows – During the day, you probably won’t notice streaks on your windshield; but at night, headlights from oncoming cars will hit the streaks and cause blinding glare. Make sure you frequently clean your car windows both inside and out.
- Keep your distance – Now that you’ve slowed down your speed, also make sure you are leaving extra space between your car and the car in front of you. This will also give you more time to react.