For the many people who don’t like to drive in the dark, the shorter days of winter pose a challenge. That’s because almost one-third of adult drivers in the United States have difficulty seeing at night.
A recent survey Shedding Light on Driving in the Dark, by Road & Travel Magazine found that nearly one of every three adult drivers with corrected vision reported problems seeing all or most of the time while driving in the dark. More than one-fourth stated they have trouble seeing signs or exits, and one-fifth report difficulty seeing animals or pedestrians.
The Kentucky Association of Optometrists offers several tips for traveling in the dark as the shortest day of the year – the winter solstice on Dec. 21 – approaches:
· Ask your eye doctor about lens with an anti-reflective coating to reduce glare.
· Schedule an annual exam with your optometrist to check for health issues related to poor night vision, such as cataracts; retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease that can begin in childhood; and diabetes.
· Keep your windows clear and your windshield wipers in good repair.
· Adjust your rearview mirrors to eliminate light from cars behind you. Drivers see better at night when the interior of the car is dark.
· Never look directly into the lights of oncoming cars. Focus instead on the striped line of the roadway.
· Limit night driving and stick to well-lit roads that are familiar to you when you have to drive in the dark.
“These simple tips can help keep you safe behind the wheel during the dark winter months,” said Dr. Aaron McNulty, an optometrist in Louisville. “But remember, if you don’t feel comfortable driving in the dark, then it’s best to plan any errands or appointments during daylight hours and stay off the road at night.”