Thirty-one percent of Britain’s 38 million drivers are too scared to drive at night, according to a new study.
Figures released by RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) show that 40 percent of all road accidents occur in the hours of darkness.
Falling asleep at the wheel is a significant factor, accounting for 20 percent of serious accidents on motorways and monotonous roads in Britain. Reduced visibility is an obvious danger – the distance a driver can see is shortened and it takes time for eyes to adjust to the dark.
It’s also harder to judge speed and distance, so other cars could be travelling faster than expected.
Essilor, the lens manufacturer behind the new study, found that 91 percent of drivers are regularly dazzled by oncoming traffic. Government data shows that around 300 collisions every year are caused by glare.
Driving at night is a glaring issue
RoSPA says that, between the ages of 15 and 65, the time it takes to recover from glare increases from one to nine seconds.
Dr. Andy Hepworth from Essilor said: “With such short days in the winter – and driving conditions frequently made worse by the British weather – often people have no choice but to drive in the dark.
“But this means that we face glare from oncoming traffic and other light sources, which is arguably the biggest issue regarding the reduction or loss of visibility, and glasses lenses can actually create more reflections impacting your vision further.
“There are a couple of other factors that hinder your vision at night as well. If you try to see something in the presence of ‘over-bright lights’, this can cause your eyes to tear up, smearing your vision. Low-light levels lead to a reduction in the contrast of images.
“Combine the two and night driving can seem like a nightmare. If you’re dazzled by glare at night when you are travelling at a speed of around 60mph, it can almost double your stopping distance. That’s a significant difference.”
How to improve nighttime vision to stay safe
Essilor has compiled a list of seven ways to improve nighttime vision, helping motorists to stay safe when driving in the dark.
- Keep windscreens clear: make sure the outside of the windscreen is clean and streak free. Keep the washer fluid topped up and carry a microfibre cloth in the glovebox to keep the inside of the screen clean.
- Use anti-glare lenses: ask your optician about spectacle lenses designed to reduce glare and reflection
- Check and adjust mirrors: dip the rear-view mirror at night or consider a car with an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
- Dip, don’t dazzle: remember to dip your headlights when faced with oncoming traffic. You should also adjust your lights when carrying heavy loads.
- Slow down or stop: if you’re concerned about vision, stop the car. Pull over in a safe measures and make adjustments to improve your vision.
- Adjust your eyes to the dark: give yourself a few minutes behind the wheel to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark.
- Keep your distance: it’s harder to judge speed and distances at night, so allow more space between you and the car in front.