Winter’s darkness reminder for nighttime driving safety

first_imgIf you struggle to see while driving at night, then watch out this Friday, the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter Solstice officially arrives at 10:08 p.m. on Friday, bringing 14 hours and seven minutes of darkness between sunset at 4:48 p.m. and sunrise at 6:55 a.m. on Saturday. The good news is the long night should not be too troubling on the eyes. In fact, experts say many drivers will not even notice. “There’s no reason to (worry about) five to 10 minutes of extra darkness,” said Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory. In fact, 70 percent of women say they sometimes have trouble seeing in the dark compared with 49 percent of men, according to a recent survey from Acuvue. People report troubles judging distances while passing cars and changing lanes. Some say that constantly changing focus from the dashboard to the street leaves them dizzy. Others have problems with their field of vision, which can result in a failure to react when hazards are coming from the right or left, Brisco said. Acuvue recommends the following tips for driving at night: Avoid highway hypnosis: Keep your eyes moving from side to side, rather than focusing solely on the center line of the road. Use the night setting on the rearview mirror. By flipping the lever at the mirror’s bottom, headlights appear dim in the reflection and bring less glare to your eyes. Keep your car in good condition. Clean the headlights, signal lights and windows at least once a week. Get your vision checked regularly. People under 40 should have eye exams every three years. Those between 41 and 60 need the tests every two years. Motorists 61 and older should do annual eye tests, according to the American Optometric Association.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champBut Winter Solstice serves as a good reminder that night driving in general is a risky pursuit. One in three drivers already report difficulties of driving at night – and the accident statistics verify it. “Drivers don’t realize that driving at night is one of the greatest hazards they face, but everybody does it,” said Elise Brisco, a Los Angeles-based optometrist. “It’s a necessity.” Nearly 50 percent of fatal crashes happen at night despite fewer cars on the road, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. After the Winter Solstice, daylight gradually grows longer each day until June 20, when the Summer Solstice begins and with it comes the longest day. Brisco says the time of year is also a good reminder to get eyes tested, because even those with 20/20 vision during the day have a reduction in visibility at night because pupils dilate in low light. Drivers’ vision can drop to 20/60 or worse. last_img read more