Once the sun sets and the stars come out, the city streets and highways can appear to become a completely different place. Even though the road can be quieter at night time, the lack of daylight can put you in danger by reducing your depth perception, colour recognition and peripheral vision.

It’s important to learn about how our vision is affected and a few tips that you can start using to help make your drive a little clearer.

How Do We See in the Dark?

According to CooperVision, our eyes let us see an incredibly wide range of lighting condition because three different parts of our eyes to work together.

Our pupils act like the camera of our eye. Similar to a camera’s aperture, the pupil turns smaller in bright light to physically block out the high amount of light that wants to reach the retina, and it opens wider in the dark to let more light in.

Our retina has rod and cone cells that serve different functions. Cone cells need bright light to distinguish colours and small details, while rod cells see only black and white, but remain sensitive even in very low light. This is why we loose colour detection in low light situations.

Both rod and cone cells contain a light sensitive chemical called photopigments, which produces a reaction that converts light energy and sends a message to our brain on how to interpret what we are seeing.

How is Night Driving More Dangerous?

According to Ameriprise Auto and Home Insurance, you have a 3X greater chance of dying in a car accident at night, and that chance is even greater on weekends.

It’s also important to know that if you don’t have clear vision or take extra precautions while on the road because your vision has 90% of an influence on your reaction time. This can put yourself at a higher risk of danger on the road.

Does My Age Affect My Vision?

Another source, states that it’s not only lack of light that makes night driving dangerous, but our age and health can be a cause to the danger. As we get older, our pupils tend to shrink and don’t dilate as much as they did when we were younger and this inevitably reduces the amount of light that enters our eyes.

Our corneas also age and cause the lens in our eyes to become less clear. This can actually cause light to scatter inside the eye which increases the chances of a glare. These changes can reduce your sensitivity and your ability to tell a difference in brightness– making it harder to see objects on the road at night.

Cataracts can also be a cause of progressive hazy vision and lead you to experience difficulty when driving. If you think you have started developing cataracts, find out more information about how our team can help correct your vision.

What Can You Do?

Whether you work the night shift, or can’t avoid driving at night, there’s a few things you can do to ensure you are taking all the precautions to stay safe:

  • Keep your headlights, taillights and windshield as clean as possible.
  • Check that your headlights are properly aimed, regardless of how new or old the vehicle is.
  • Reduce your speed and leave enough room between yourself and other cars.
  • Don’t use your high beams when following or approaching another vehicles as this can be a danger for other drivers.
  • Focus on the right edge of the highway if you are being blinded by oncoming traffic
  • If you wear glasses, talk to your optometrist about anti-reflective lenses.
  • Keep your eyes moving rather than staring at only the road.
  • Visit your optometrist on a regular basis to ensure your eyes are getting the best possible care.

If you are looking for more information about how laser eye surgery can improve your vision at night time, book your complimentary assessment today. Our vision care team will test your vision thoroughly and you’ll have the opportunity to find out whether laser eye surgery is right for you.