Visibility at night can be a bit dangerous and tiring at the same time. Low light equals low visibility, and you need to see where you’re going while behind the wheel. In the city, there is an abundance of street lights, but there are still many roads and streets that have little to no illumination, and that presents a threat to your safety.
So, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to improve your nighttime driving experience and keep you safe when the sun goes down. Here are 7 tips that will help you make your night drive safer.
Dim the gauge cluster and infotainment system
In low-light conditions, your eyes have to adjust by becoming more sensitive to the limited amounts of photon from the outside world. Because of this, you don’t want your interior lighting to compete with the light coming into the cabin.
It’s inadvisable to crank the brightness of your dashboard up to its maximum setting because you are creating a situation wherein your eyes have to adjust to two different light intensities, so our advice is to dim the interior lights so your eyes won’t get strained while focusing on the road. Also, drivers with glasses will experience glare because the light coming from the infotainment or gauge cluster is at an off-angle, which will create some glare spots in your vision. This can be extremely distracting especially if you’re checking your mirrors or while you’re just cruising on the highway.
Get lighter tint or no tint at all
Automotive tint is designed to reject heat, absorb or reflect light, bounce off harmful UV rays, and keep your cabin cool during a hot sunny day. However, at night, all those benefits will have to wait for the next day because you need as much light as possible to see the road ahead of you.
When purchasing your new car, opt for a lighter tint. That way you can still keep your privacy inside, maintain the benefits the tint provides, and have adequate amounts of light entering the cabin at night. Of course, the best solution for nighttime visibility, or visibility in general, is to have no tint at all, but that’s a bit of an extreme solution.
Make sure your lights are working properly
Headlights are essential to nighttime driving. Not only do they help you see the road, but they also signal other drivers that you’re there. The same goes for brake lights, signal lights, and your taillights. Side note, while it is important to see and be seen on the road, it’s inadvisable to keep your rear fog lamps on as the intensity of the rear foglamp may distract people driving behind you. It’s okay to keep your front fogs on, but unless there is a fog or a heavy downpour, keep the rear lamp off.
Over time, your lights will dip in intensity. So check them regularly during your maintenance intervals or just for the heck of it. You don’t want a bulb, or several, to go bad on you when you need them the most. When you do get replacements, either go for the stock bulbs or consider upgrading your system via a retrofit or a higher intensity bulb.
Don't stare at oncoming headlights
As with the sun, staring directly into oncoming headlights will not only damage your eyes, but it will also render you temporarily unable to clearly see the road ahead. Especially on a road without other ambient lights, staring directly into another vehicle’s headlights will strain your eyes and make you lose focus.
Our advice is to keep your eyes on the road. Keep the oncoming headlights in your periphery but don’t stare directly at it. You’ll be safer and your eyes will thank you and you can remain focused on the road ahead.
Dim your rearview mirror
There are many cars nowadays that have auto-dimming mirrors, but the old-school method is to flip a switch to change your rearview mirror’s perspective. Just like your interior lights, you don’t want other light sources to compete with your vision, with the rearview mirror aimed directly at your face. If someone has their high beams on or you’re in a low-slung vehicle, then it should be automatic that you flip the switch on your rearview to reduce fatigue and stress while driving at night.
Clean your windshield
If your windshield is caked with dust, it’s obvious that light will not be able to penetrate the glass and enter your cabin. Use your car’s built-in windshield washer to fix the issue, however, it’s easy to forget that you also need to clean the inside of your windshield for the clearest visibility possible.
Grab a dry cloth, some alcohol, or warm water and wipe away. Make sure there is no residue from the solution you’re using and make sure that no streaks are present. For the best results, use a clean microfiber cloth. We recommend keeping one in your car at all times in case you need to wipe down some stuff in the cabin.
You want to take in as much as you can at night. You don’t want to overload your brain with sensory input, so make sure that you’re going slow enough to take everything in. Don’t go too slow either, you don’t want to become a moving obstacle for other drivers.
So the advice here is not to speed or be in too much of a hurry. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t drive faster than you can see.