View from side of car moving in a modern night city, blurred motion with lights and cars.
Dark conditions and reduced visibility can make for unsafe driving conditions. Now that Winter has brought shorter days, it’s a good time to check the illumination of your headlights and follow these safety tips for nighttime driving:
- 50% of crashes occur at night, so drivers should frequently check their headlights for signs of deterioration. Restore or replace damaged headlights.
- Headlights can show signs of deterioration after just three years, but most commonly by year five.
- Check headlights for changes in appearance, such as yellowing or clouding. If the bulb is difficult to see, have the lens replaced or restored ASAP.
- Replacement and restoration services are available at most repair shops.
- Do-it-yourself restoration offers some savings for consumers. It is relatively simple and provides a sufficient improvement in light output.
- Make sure headlights are correctly re-aimed to maximize forward lighting performance and minimize glare to oncoming and preceding drivers.
- Compensate for reduced visibility by decreasing your speed and increasing your following distance to four or more seconds behind the car in front of you.
- Keep your eyes moving. Do not focus on the middle of the area illuminated by your headlights. Watch for sudden flashes of light at hilltops, around curves, or at intersections. These may indicate the presence of oncoming vehicles.
- Look at the sides of objects. In the dim light, focus on the edges or outlines of objects. Your eyes can pick up images more sharply this way than by looking directly at them.
- Avoid being blinded by oncoming high beams. If the driver of an oncoming vehicle fails to dim the lights, look down toward the right side of the road. You should be able to see the edge of the lane or the white-painted edge line and stay on course until the vehicle passes.