Being able to see what’s in front of you is essential for driving safety. When you can’t see, even for a fraction of a second, you run the risk of veering off the road, colliding into another object, or even losing control of your vehicle. Unfortunately, Washington sees hundreds of accidents each year caused by the driver’s inability to see obstacles in the road.
Although poor visibility can be caused by a host of issues—fog, rain, snow, fatigue, darkness—one of the most avoidable causes is headlight blindness and glare.
Headlight and High Beam Glare
The bright lights of an oncoming car’s headlights can seriously affect a driver’s vision. In fact the glare from these lights can temporarily blind you, increasing your risk for an accident. This being said, there are ways to reduce these effects when headlights and brights are needed. When you are faced with bright lights coming at you or shining in your rearview mirror from behind, you can do the following:
- Avert your eyes. When you see the bright lights of an oncoming car, refrain from looking directly at the headlights. Instead, focus on the road directly in front of you until the car is close enough for the lights to be seen out of the corner of your eye. At this point, lower your gaze and focus your line of sight toward the right. To ensure that you’re staying on the road, use the white line of the shoulder as a guide line until the lights pass.
- Adjust your rearview mirror. Most cars now have an automatic glare-reduction feature in their rearview mirrors, but if the glare still bothers you, adjust your mirror so the headlights aren’t shining directly in your eyes.
- Protect your eyes. Make routine eye appointments to rule out cataracts and other visual problems that may increase glare effects.Your eye doctor may also be able to suggest glare-reduction glasses to be worn at night.
- Clean your windshield. Glare can intensify through dirty and cracked windshields as the light refracts and bounces off dirt, greasy smudges, and broken glass. Make sure your windshield is clean and smooth to prevent intensifying glare effects.
As a driver, there are things you can do to protect other drivers as well, including the following:
- Use the right light for the right time. Knowing when and how to use different car lights cannot only decrease your own distraction, but also help limit oncoming traffic blindness.
- Limit high beam use. High beams, or “brights,” are extremely intense and should only be used under certain circumstances. These circumstances include when it’s too difficult to see with only the headlights, when no one is in front of you, and when you’re at least 500 feet from oncoming traffic and need the high beams to see the road. If you can see a car approaching you, make sure you turn your high beams off to reduce intense glare. Headlights should remain on.
- Make sure lights are clean. Hazy lights can drastically increase glare as the light refracts off of grease, grime, and dirt particles. Reduce the risk by periodically cleaning your headlights to remove any excess particulates that can affect light distribution.
For more information about headlight use and risk factors, please feel free to browse our extensive gallery of educational articles, blogs, and FAQs. We provide this valuable information so that you can be safe on the road. Feel free to share this information through Facebook and Twitter.
Category: Car Accidents
To reply to this message, enter your reply in the box labeled "Message", hit "Post Message."