Driving at night, safely
As days grow shorter and nights grow longer, it pays to be attentive when getting behind the wheel, especially after dark. Age-related changes to your vision and eye diseases such as cataracts can make it more difficult to see clearly at night. You may have trouble reading road signs, adapting to glare from headlights, or correctly judging distances and speed of other vehicles.
There are general measures you can take to help you drive safely at night, as well as specific precautions when you get behind the wheel. In general:
- Stay current with eye exams.
- Wear glasses that are anti-reflective and that don’t obstruct your peripheral vision.
- Check with your doctor about side effects of any medications you may be taking that might affect your driving abilities.
- Keep your windshield and headlights clean. Ask your mechanic to make sure headlights are aimed correctly.
- Don’t drive if you feel impaired or sleepy.
- Take a driving course. Even experienced drivers can benefit from a refresher now and then.
Take precautions such as:
- Slow down so that you have time to react and stop if needed.
- Minimize distractions, such as fiddling with the radio or a phone, eating, or drinking.
- Stay alert to the road and other drivers.
- Pull over if you need to check directions, make a call, send a text, or just need a break or a nap, especially on longer trips.
If you're looking for more information like this to stay on the road to good health, try the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.