When driving through the night there are is a lot more difficulty when there is night glare compared to driving through the day. While driving at night there are a lot of night vision problems that almost every driver experiences. Different glares, eye-fatigue and even incoming headlights affect your vision greatly and make you lose focus and sometimes even blind you for a second. Let’s take a look at the problems when driving at night and why there are difficulties when driving at night glare.
Light as a factor for our vision
Present light actually plays an Important role for our proper vision. The present light ‘’bounces’’ of objects and enters your sight, which allows you to detect objects and actually ‘’see’’. With that in mind, comes the potential problems like glare or halos. Shortly, halos are very bright circles that are surrounded by a light source, almost resembling a car’s headlight. Glare is just the light that enters your vision and can potentially blind you for a short duration of time or interfere with your current sight.
Glare is the most dangerous factor here. When driving at night and you are focused on the dark road, sudden bright lights like glare can hinder your vision greatly and make you lose focus completely. Actually, discomfort and potential sight problems when driving through the night is a very common occurrence with night drivers that often drive longer distances through the night. It is documented that a lot more car accidents happen at night – to be exact, 25% more accidents happen at night compared to any other part of the day.
According to different researches, drivers that take often trips through the night experience a lot of different visual discomforts from bright glares of most commonly incoming car headlights. This occurrence affects not only their brief ability to see, but also their focus and their reaction time and changes on the road due to very low-light conditions.
Many drivers that are over the age of 45 actually complain a lot more about glare and blind sighting when driving through the night compared to younger drivers. It is actually interesting that a 20-year-old driver for example will need as little as 0.9 seconds for them to recover from being blind sighted by a sudden bright light or oncoming car headlights compared to the much longer reaction time of 9 seconds for older drivers. The difference is quite a lot and there are a lot of potential accidents that can happen during those 9 seconds, especially if you are driving faster or on a highway.
But to understand why exactly you are having trouble while driving at night glare, its best to take a more scientific approach to this case.
The part of your eye that detects present light is called a Cataract. This part of your eye ages as you age and cells begin to die during the years. This Is mainly why older drivers need more time to react when being blind sighted compared to a younger driver. The Cataracts are your vision’s ‘’lens’’ behind your pupil. You cannot feel the cells dying at all as it does not hurt, but you can definitely sense it when taking night-time driving trips.
The effect of dying cells in the Cataracts makes your vision, especially through the night cloudier as age progresses. Because Cataracts process and distort bright lights that come into your eye, you may see different halos and glares much brighter than they actually are – which leads to a much harder blinding and losing a lot more focus and not being able to pay close attention to the road for a few seconds. Enough seconds unfortunately for a lot of accidents to happen, hence why most car accidents occur during the night time.
Different other factors
Actually, a lot of small factors play a big role as to why you are having trouble driving at night and experiencing blind sight from glares and oncoming headlights. First and foremost is the simplest thing, lack of vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a crucial vitamin for the proper function of your sight. It is mainly found in certain vegetables. It helps keep the retina – the biggest part of your eye where all the things you see are focused – healthy and working properly. So if you are experiencing trouble driving through the night and think that your vision is usually okay, try boosting up your vitamin A intake.
Zinc is another part that plays a big role in our proper healthy sight function. It is closely connected to Vitamin A and if there isn’t a balance in Zinc and Vitamin A – the one will not benefit from the other. This results in worse night-time blindness compared to if you are keeping both of your vitamins up at all times, especially if you are an often night-time driver.
Aging Factors that affect vision
This is the most common thing that can come in mind when having trouble with night vision glare. There are certain things that happen with our sight that weakens our eyes and the ability for us to focus on the road through the night as well as recovering from night-time blind sights.
The biggest thing that happens with age is that our pupils literally shrink. They cannot dilate as much as they do in the dark as age progresses, and this way leads to reducing the amount of light that enters our eyes. Some different researches that have been made estimated that close to the example we mentioned in the start with blind sight, the eyes of a 70-year-old experienced driver receive much less light compared to the retina of a 20-year-old inexperienced driver.
With aging, the cornea in the eye becomes less clear. This results in causing the light that we receive, and even as limited it is during the night, to scatter inside of our sight and this way greatly increases glare. Those changes add another additional problem – they greatly reduce contrast sensitivity as well as our ability to differentiate different objects during the night as well as different small changes in brightness – making it very hard to be able to focus on and detect different objects that don’t reflect light – for example animals that can hop on the road.
But age is not the only thing that affects having problems with night vision glare. Even a lot of young drivers have an optical imperfection that is also called a high-order aberration. This is closely connected with the need of having to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses prescribed especially for night driving. This occurrence can actually increase with age and cause a lot more drastic glares, especially when the driver’s pupil is greatly dilated at night.
Another thing that actually affects our sight, even though you can hardly think that it will – is the disease diabetes. Diabetes causes severe vision loss with actually no visual or initial symptoms. Those symptoms occur when driving through the night and try focusing on the road when there are passing-by cars’s headlights. Diabetes forms small specks of retinal blood that you cannot feel or even see in the mirror, that affects your vision. Those spots are completely clear and cannot be treated in any way, but greatly hinder your night vision and make everything appear much blurrier, makes it much harder to focus and makes you lose vision reduces reaction time during night driving trips.
There are a lot of different factors that hinder your eyesight, especially when driving through the night. Night vision problems and night vision glare affect different people in different way, depending on their health condition and age. But having an additional checkup if you are an often night-time driver no matter what your age is, is your safest bet in having the best possible experience when driving through the night and avoid having trouble with glare affecting you as much and having long periods of focus-loss and blind sight.