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Blinded By The Light – Learn about Glare for Your DMV Test

Driving in rain- copyright Elena Elisseeva

Night Driving is Challenging for All Drivers

Driving at night is challenging for all drivers.

First, you don’t see as well at night. Even with your headlights on high beam or when you drive in areas with good street lighting, you see far less of the road and your surrounding compared to when you drive in daytime.

Secondly, darkness is a signal to your body that it is time to sleep. Your reaction time slows and your ability to stay focused weakens at might.

Driving late at night is a common cause of fatigue and drowsy driving .

Whenever you feel tired, it is best to stop in a safe place and take a break.

Another of the many challenges of driving at night is exposure to glare from streetlights or oncoming headlights. When you are constantly exposed to changing lightning conditions, it takes time for your eyes to adjust.

Oncoming glare from vehicles at night

What is Glare?

Glare occurs when bright light enters your eye, and your eye isn’t prepared to manage it.

The bright light can come directly from a light source on or beside the roadway, but it can also be reflected.

A dark, wet pavement, as an example, can reflect lights beside the roadway and cause discomfort or distraction. A wet pavement can also reflect headlamps from oncoming vehicles.

When driving in fog or heavy rain with high beams headlights, you may experience a reflection of light on the moisture from your own headlights.

Direct glare sometimes comes from streetlights, neon light boards, and the head lamps of oncoming vehicles at night. But you will also most likely experience glare when driving against a setting or rising sun.

Some of the glare that can occur when you drive at night can be avoided. In other situations, you can reduce the negative effects of the glare.

You should remember that glare severely affects your night vision. It leads discomfort and distraction. It can also make you temporarily blind. When you drive longer distances and are constantly exposed to glare it puts a heavy strain on your eyes and impairs your driving performance. That is why you should try to avoid glare as much as possible.

Read more: What glare is and how it can hurt your vision

How to Avoid Glare when Driving in Fog or Rain

New drivers are often not aware that their own headlights can create a glare from the light reflection on raindrops and the moisture in a thick fog.

When driving with high beams in a fog, the fog appears to be brighter and thicker than if you switch to low beams.

You will see less of the road with high beams and it is harder to judge the speed of and the distance to other vehicles. This is because the water drops block some of the light reflected by objects, like other vehicles, and less information about these objects reaches the driver’s eye. There is more loss of contrast from objects ahead.

The heavier the rainfall or thicker the fog, the more glare you should expect with high beams headlights.

  The best way to avoid or reduce glare when driving in fog, rain, or snow is to turn on low beams. Never use high beam headlights. .

Always turn on your low beam headlights in adverse weather conditions. If your wipers are on, your headlights should also be turned on. Such weather conditions also mean that you should adjust your speed and make sure you can stop within the distance you can see ahead.

How to Avoid Glare from Oncoming Vehicles

If you meet another vehicle on a two-way roadway at night, you are likely to get distracted by the oncoming headlights, even if the oncoming driver has switched to low beams.

The trick is to never look directly at the oncoming headlights or focus on the center of the roadway. As always, you should keep your eyes moving and take in all your surroundings.

If the driver of an oncoming vehicle keep their headlights on high beams, you can be severely blinded by the bright lights and it may take several seconds before your eyes adjust again.

  To avoid or reduce the risk of getting blinded by high beam headlights at night, you should glance toward the right side of your lane or the right road edge. On most roadways, you be able to see the painted lane line or edge line and stay on course until the source of glare is gone.

Don’t be tempted to use dark glasses or sunglasses when driving at night. They will not help.

How to Avoid Glare from Direct Sunlight

Driving with glare from direct sunlight

Driving in early morning hours after sunrise or late evening before sunset with the sun shining directly into your eyes can also be challenging.

Driving with the sun in your eyes is not only discomforting but also disabling. The light can become so intense that interferes with or block your vision. This disabling glare occurs because the light scatters when it enters your eyes. The contrast of objects ahead may get lost, reducing your ability to judge motion, which increases the risk of a crash.

  Best way to reduce glare from direct sunlight is to use your sun visor and polarized sunglasses.

If the light interferes with your view of the road ahead, slow down and increase your following distance.

Read more: Dangers of Driving into Sun

Glare Becomes More Challenging the Older You Get

Senior drivers often find glare more difficult to handle because their eyes take longer to recover from the bright lights.

As we age, our eyes become less flexible. In darkness, pupils dilate as much as they used to do when we were younger. The eye also requires much more light to see clearly. With increasing age, the cornea also clouds, which makes the eye more sensitive to glare.

The older we become, the higher the risk for eye problems like cataracts or glaucoma. Some of these eye problems can develop so slowly that the driver may not realize they have a problem until they have an eye exam.

If you often find glare disturbing and distracting, and find that you have problems recovering from it, you should see an ophthalmologist or an eye doctor as soon as possible. If possible, you should also try to avoid driving at night or under poor weather conditions.

The reason you are having trouble driving at night can range from the need of vision correction with glare-resistant glasses or contact lenses, to more serious conditions such as glaucoma, cataract, or retinal problems.

Headlight Use is Important for Your DMV Test

See if you can answer these questions:



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#1. To avoid glare from headlights of an oncoming car at night, you should:

To reduce the effects of glare from oncoming headlights, do not look straight at headlights. Watch the lower right side of your lane or the road edge.

#2. If you feel tired when driving at night, it is best to:

If you feel tired when driving at night, it is best to stp and take a break.

#3. How should you avoid glare when driving in fog or rain?

Always turn on low beam headlights when driving in fog or a heavy rainfall.

#4. If you often find glare disturbing and distracting, you should:

If you often find glare disturbing and distracting, and find that you have problems recovering from it, you should see an ophthalmologist or an eye doctor as soon as possible. If possible, you should also try to avoid driving at night or under poor weather conditions.

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Learn More

    Why Night Driving Is So Dangerous – DMV Answers

    When Should You Use High Beam Headlights?

    When the Law Requires You to Turn on Headlights

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