With the arrival of fall comes shorter days and more time driving in the dark. According to the National Safety Council, while only 25% of driving occurs in darkness, a staggering 50% of accidents happen when it’s dark outside.
Driving in the dark can compromise a person’s depth perception, peripheral vision and color recognition abilities. In addition to these impairments, the glare of headlights from oncoming traffic can often leave you temporarily blinded and unable to see what’s coming. However, most people don’t realize they can avoid these issues with nighttime driving by adequately using their headlights.
According to AAA, most drivers aren’t getting the most out of their headlights due to improper use or maintenance. Here are three headlight tips to help improve your visibility and safety when driving at night:
1. Clean your headlights
If you’ve had your car for a few years, there’s a good chance your headlights aren’t providing as much light as they could. Most drivers don’t know that by restoring the old and grimy headlights on their vehicle, they can double the maximum light intensity and reduce light scattering by up to 60%.
2. Utilize your high beams
Only about a third of U.S. drivers admit to using the high beam feature on their headlights regularly. High beams can improve your sight distance by up to 28% on the road. However, remember to switch back to your low beams when there’s oncoming traffic to avoid blinding the other driver. High beams are ideal when driving on an unlit street.
3. Maintain a safe following distance
Even if you know your driving route like the back of your hand, remember that your headlights may not provide sufficient light when driving at highway speeds. Putting more distance between yourself and the cars in front of you will ensure that you have plenty of time to brake in an emergency or avoid a road hazard.
Driving at night is always more dangerous than driving in the daytime. To avoid a potentially severe collision, make sure you get the most out of your headlights this autumn.