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Night Driving - How to Drive at Night (Posted on Feb 8 2010)

Driving at Night can be difficult for some people.  Even some experienced licensed drivers detest night driving.  The human eye’s vision capabilities significantly diminish with the lack of natural light.  If you have trouble seeing the road at night, the following tips may help you reach your destination safely.

Adjust Your Eyes
Before jumping into a vehicle at night, allow your eyes a few minutes to adjust.  It is the same concept as being in a dark room.  After a few minutes, your pupils will dilate enough to absorb any light that is present in the room.

Minimize Glare
A trick that I use if I want to minimize the glare of oncoming vehicles is to look to the white line on the right side of the road.  This allows you the ability to stay on the road and also to avoid the glare from the lights of the approaching vehicle.  This is especially true if you are a mature driver because it takes longer for senior citizens to recover from glare.

Keep it dark
Turn off all interior lights. Any source of light inside the car will seem extremely bright and will make it more difficult to see.  Mature drivers have increased difficulty seeing in these conditions.

Slow Down
This is common sense.  At night even on a well lit road, a pedestrian or an animal is almost impossible to see unless they are on the road.  Slowing down allows you more time to react in case a pedestrian or an animal accidentally finds themselves on the road.

Tune it Up
Besides the regular car maintenance functions such as the engine, tires and fluid levels, it is important to make sure that your headlights, brake lights, tail lights, and turn signal lights are in perfect working order if you travel often at night.

I am sure we can all count on how many times we have been driving at night to be blinded by the high beams of an oncoming driver.  A simple flick of your lights will let the other driver know that they are driving with their high beams on.  It is important NOT to use your high beam lights if there is oncoming traffic.  These lights are bright enough to negatively impact the night vision of oncoming traffic.  Remember not to use your high beams if you are following another vehicle.  The reflection of this light can hinder driving vision as well.  Some vehicles come equipped with tinted rearview mirrors for this exact reason.

In Case of Emergency, use your 4 way Flashers!
Unfortunately flat tires, engine failure and running out of gas can happen while night driving as well.  If you are faced with any of these obstacles, make sure to pull off on the shoulder as far as possible and immediately turn on your 4 way flashers.  If you do have to be stopped by the side of the road, it is imperative that you are seen.
Finally, the worst time to drive is actually at dawn.  This is because your eyes are constantly adjusting to the changing light.  It is also a time when some drivers (who are obviously not alert), actually forget to turn on their headlights, making them almost invisible to other drivers on the road.

If you are currently enrolled in a driving school, ask your instructor for specific tips on ways to minimize risk when driving at night.

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