1. WEAR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE EYEGLASSES. If you only see 20/25, your reaction speed will be 4 times slower than if you were able to see 20/20. If you only see 20/30, your reaction speed will be 16 times slower. If you only see 20/40, your reaction speed will be 64 times slower, etc… Sometimes a visual skills evaluation is needed in addition to a routine eye exam to determine the best driving glasses because of aging changes in the visual system.
2. PRACTICE PREVENTIVE EYE CARE. Preventive eye care can help delay some of the normal aging changes to the visual system that make driving at night more difficult.
3. AIM HEADLIGHTS PROPERLY. Make sure that the headlights are level and not aimed too low. Also, regularly clean off the grime that accumulates on your headlights. In addition, replace old headlight bulbs that are beginning to dim.
4. DIM YOUR DASH LIGHTS. Avoid added glare that can distract you by dimming your dash lights and instrument panel.
5. CLEAN ALL MIRRORS AND WINDOWS. Wipe down your front windshield, back windshield, side windows, side mirrors and rearview mirrors regularly to avoid added glare at night. Wiping with newspaper will remove residue effectively. Avoid touching the inside of the windows with your hands. Instead, keep a microfiber cloth in the car to wipe with instead.
6. DRIVE WITH FOG LIGHTS. These lights will help illuminate the road even when there is no fog. Make sure that these lights are aimed as low as possible so that they will not blind oncoming drivers.
7. ADJUST EXTERIOR MIRRORS. Adjust these side mirrors so that you can check them without looking directly into the lights from the cars around you. Aiming them slightly lower will allow you to see the cars behind you by dipping your head slightly forward without looking directly into the other car’s headlights.
For more information, please contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.
A driver needs to make approximately 20 decisions for every mile driven according to AAA. In addition, a driver has less than half of a second to react quickly enough to avoid an accident. Older drivers experience a decrease in vision, visual perceptual skills and motor response. Consequently, according to the American Medical Association, older drivers are “vulnerable to crashes in complex situations that require good visual perception, attention and response”. Driving at nighttime can be even more harrowing.
Traffic death rates are three times higher at nighttime than during the day time per the National Safety Council.
As we age, our eyes change in ways that make driving at nighttime more difficult:
1. the pupils shrink in size so that not enough light is able to get through them thus making seeing at night more difficult.
2. the cornea and lens change so that they scatter light thus increasing glare and decreasing our ability to detect small differences in brightness.
3. the development of cataracts will scatter more light to increase halos and starbursts around light thereby making it more difficult to see at night.
4. eye diseases that affect our ability to see like macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy or cataracts begin to affect 33% of all drivers on the road that are 40 years and older.
5. our eyeglass prescriptions begin to change without us knowing therefore reducing our reaction speed and ability to see.
6. our ability to coordinate our eyes begin to deteriorate therefore causing more blurring, doubling of oncoming headlights, and/or more difficulty distinguishing street signs and lane markers.
Even though we experience these changes in our eyes, not all is lost. Proper vision care can help address many of the eye changes that make driving at nighttime more difficult and dangerous.
For more information, contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.