Tips To Reduce Glare From Oncoming Traffic
I am not even going to bother giving you all a chance to think about what is the most terrifying aspect of driving; it is of course the glare from lights while Mother Nature is against the power of human eyesight. That’s during the dark hours. But, if I were to ask you the same question, you would probably end up crying about maniacs who suffer from a very common disease known as “I couldn’t care less about the other motorists who are waving their hands around to get me to drive sanely – I will drive the way I want”. Or in other words, “The people who should be shot at sight whenever encountered with any idiotic driving manoeuvre”. I am thinking automatic cannons, armed and ready, to take them out completely? See, I knew it! Anyways, the thing is if you’re really calm and understand that such ignoramus lot will continue to coexist in our current affairs of useless traffic monitoring setup, you can teach yourself to keep a safe distance. This, frankly, should be the bottom line of every lesson for people who actually bother to take driving lessons.
Statistically, however, this isn’t even close to being the most daunting task on the roads today. Highest number of car crashes occur during the darker hours of 6pm to 6am. In addition to that, the fatality rate is nearly 4 times as much as a car crash outside this window. Part of this scary statistic comes courtesy of people who are under the influence of drugs/alcohol, are tired/stressed, or, are just plainly playing stupid. One might argue that these attributes are completely uncontrollable and unfortunately that is correct.
However, there are ways which can help you reduce level of danger from the glare of lights. Let’s list them out one by one.
1. Before you get going, you must ensure that the windows of your car are free from any kind of dirt. Bird droppings and leaves/branches from trees being the top two to look out for. This is important because blockage from any angle during your drive can be potentially fatal.
2. Check the windscreen wipers. They should be clean and free of anything stuck between the wipers and the windscreen surface. Also, ensure that you have water available for the windscreen washers to do their job effectively. The washers themselves shouldn’t be jammed which otherwise renders the previous pointer pointless.
3. Carry a clean cloth and some paper napkins with you at all times. No, it isn’t for you or the leaky nose that you might have time to time, but it is for your beloved car. You might require them to wipe out any condensation or post-wash marks on the windscreen.
4. Wipe out any dirt on the headlights of your vehicle. It especially goes out for people with HID (High Intensity Discharge) lights. The dirt diffuses the light from the lamp, causing glare to other drivers and effectively robbing them of their vision. Get the headlights checked regularly because more than half of the vehicles on the road today have improperly aimed headlights. With some cars out there, both the lights are misaligned (one is lighting the road ahead of you and the other is blinding oncoming motorists). Headlight illumination efficiency for older vehicles can be improved by applying a special polishing compound designed specifically for exterior of the headlights.
5. Setting up the ORVMs (Outside Rear View Mirrors) is also an art which very few will concede that they haven’t got a clue how it’s supposed to be done. To ensure that you don’t get blind sighted by the vehicles behind, you must align the mirrors properly. Lean to the right and rest your head on the window to adjust the right ORVM till you just see the right rear corner of your vehicle. Then, lean to the left towards the center of your vehicle and adjust the passenger side OVRM until you see the left rear corner of your vehicle. If done accurately, this setup will reduce the glare, blind spots, and help identify vehicles on the side and rear.
6. Next up is another question. Ever wondered what that lever at the bottom of the rear view mirror does? By flipping it, the lights will still appear in the glass but will appear much dimmer and hence not be as troublesome.
Apart from the above mentioned pointers, there are a couple of things which you need to take care of at a personal level. Get your eyesight checked regularly. Anyone who is under the age of 60 should get a check-up done once every two years and once a year if over 60 years of age. Apart from this, if you are driving for extended hours during the night, take frequent breaks. The eyes need some time-out, especially at night because they are working overtime to get the best possible vision using the light sources available on the roads.
Drive safely. Drive responsibly.