Driving in bad conditions is more than just icy or wet roads. Some of the worst situations include dusk and night driving; rain, fog, blizzards, and drifting snow; sun and shadows; and driving off into the sunset.
To become night
During this period of half light, your central vision is not as efficient as it is in daylight, but your eyes are not prepared for night vision either. Professional drivers try not to drive during this period if you can help it. Whenever practical, stop and take a break to help your eyes adjust to the dark. If you must drive, it is imperative that you slow down and be particularly alert.
People, animals and objects are more or less visible depending on the amount of light they reflect back to the observer. It is well known that light colored clothing or objects reflect more than dark colored objects, and thus will be seen from a greater distance.
But a driver cannot count on other people or animals to make himself more visible. A driver never knows when headlights will be seen, too late, a darkly dressed pedestrian, or a parked car with no headlights.
When driving at night, your reference point should be slightly higher than the meeting point of your headlights and the pavement in the center of your lane.
Peripheral vision suffers less than central vision at night. It is very important that you train yourself to make extensive use of your peripheral vision when driving in broad daylight so that it becomes a firmly established habit that you simply carry on at night. Otherwise, you can use only your central vision in the narrow cone of light.
This concentration of the eyes and attention reduces the efficiency of peripheral vision. The eyes would not move as they should, and due to that lack of movement, eye fatigue could set in. As we discussed earlier, double or one-eyed vision can occur.
Preparation of the eyes for night vision
Your vision takes time to become efficient at night. It has been determined that it takes at least 30 minutes to reach 80% efficiency and at least one hour to reach 100%. You can lose a good percentage of this dark adaptation just by looking at streetlights or another car’s headlights. Therefore, when driving at night, always keep the following points in mind:
When you get to your car, look to the right of the road, past the point where the light and pavement meet, using your peripheral vision to detect possible movement.
Never drive at night when you are tired – pull over and rest.
Remember that distance judgment is much more difficult at night, because you may tend to overestimate the distance between you and other cars and underestimate your speed. You need to be especially vigilant when estimating distances to red lights: This color presents special difficulties, so give yourself enough room to follow another car and have more room to stop than would seem necessary at a red light.
Traffic lights are difficult to locate in brightly lit areas. A driver must rely heavily on this peripheral vision; By trying to keep the wide image of the scene in front, your field of vision will pick up the movement of the changing lights, helping you locate them.
Some drivers like to follow another vehicle at night. This is a very good method of driving, especially on unfamiliar roads, as the car in front lights the way for a long distance, helps locate shoulder hazards by contouring, and generally helps you maintain a pace. constant.
However, when following another car, you must keep more than what appears to be a safe distance; Be sure to only use your low beams and look along the edge of the road and not into the red taillights of the car behind you: This practice has been known to put the next driver to sleep.
Avoid smoking while driving. The smoke will reduce visual acuity and leave a film of smoke on the inside of the windshield if the car is not properly ventilated.
Have all the lights and windshield been cleaned inside and out? Visibility is drastically reduced by dirt or film on the glass.
Drive at a speed that allows you to stop within the distance you can clearly see ahead.
Driving in rain, dust, snow and fog
Three of these conditions present the same problem: Rain, snow, and fog act like a mirror. In modern cars, where the driver sits in line with the light rays of the headlights, the light hits the raindrops, mist droplets or snowflakes and is reflected in the eyes of the driver. driver.
If the low beams are used, the light is reflected towards the road to give more light. In these conditions, therefore, only the low beams should be used. Fog lights are also useful due to their low position on the vehicle so more light rays are reflected onto the road.
Heavy vehicles with high cabs give better visibility due to the position of the driver. It is a good habit to follow these vehicles at a proper distance on those nights.
sun and shadows
Driving in a wooded area or on city streets at the time of day when the sun sets in shadows with the trees or neighboring houses can be very dangerous. Tinted lenses or dust on the windshield can prevent you from seeing people, animals, or objects on or near the road or street. Slow down and remove sunglasses if you wear them. The same advice is also applicable when entering a tunnel.
driving into the sun
When driving into a sunset, always use the sun visors. A dusty windshield is particularly dangerous in this case.
When driving with the sun at your back, remember that oncoming drivers have very poor visibility. It is advisable to turn on your headlights to warn drivers heading in the opposite direction from moving into your lane.