Light glare is becoming more of a problem as the population ages and cars use more powerful lights, but there are steps drivers can take to reduce the effects of glare. First, it helps to examine the causes of glare at night.
Causes of Glare at Night
Often older people more acutely experience glare because it takes their eyes longer to adjust to changes in light, i.e., the contrast between the dark of night and the lights on other drivers’ cars and the streetlights along the road.
Special car lights also contribute to glare. Many cars now come with fog lamps that emit more light at a lower angle in an effort to stop refracting light in the fog. There are also high-intensity discharge (HID) lights that come on many luxury vehicles.
These lights emit twice the light as regular halogen lights and give out a blue-white color that many people find excessively bright. If the car’s lights tilt upward, it may cause the light to angle more directly into an oncoming driver’s eyes. Some vehicles, like large vans and SUVs, sit higher than other vehicles, and this can result in a light beam shining directly into another driver’s eyes.
How to deal with glare at night:
- Keep headlights clean: Proper maintenance of the car can help drivers reduce the effects of glare. If a driver’s car emits more light, there is less contrast with lights from oncoming traffic. Drivers should keep their headlights clean. Even a thin layer of grime can block a lot of light.
- Keep the windshield clean: Clean windshields reduce glare as well. Grime, streaks, smudges and other dirt refract light, which can increase the light’s potency or direct it into the driver’s eyes. Wiper blades can also cause streaks on the windshield and should be cleaned regularly to prevent smudges.
- Avoid staring into the lights: On the roadways, drivers should keep their eyes moving while driving so they don’t focus on glare for too long. Looking at the sides of objects can help drivers recognize oncoming objects while avoiding glare from their lights. If a car’s light does shine directly at a driver’s eyes, he or she should look to the right to avoid further glare.
Night Driving and the Law
Pennsylvania law requires drivers to use headlights from sunset to sunrise and in other conditions like adverse weather conditions. Glare is not a strong defense to liability in a car accident, as part of using reasonable care to prevent harm to others includes taking steps to reduce glare. In order for drivers to both avoid accidents and liability for any accidents that do occur, they should take precautions to reduce glare and how it affects them while driving.
If another driver was distracted by glare – such as because he or she didn’t maintain the vehicle and had a dirty windshield – that driver may be liable if it contributed to the accident.
Cordisco & Saile is committed to driver safety. We help accident victims in Newtown, Pennsylvania pursue compensation from an at-fault driver if another driver is to blame for the accident. Contact our office at 215-642-2335 or contact us online to set up a consultation.