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This is a question that many drivers ask themselves at some point. Noticing that you struggle at night when almost everyone is using their headlights wrongly and throwing all full beams around, you may wonder if you are doing same to others and feel if there is a way you can check that you are not “blinding” or “dazzling” other drivers with your headlights at night.
The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to make sure that you are not blinding other drivers with your headlights. Though headlights are the best way to help others see you when approaching, you can always keep a low beam headlight when you have oncoming vehicles coming. And of course, resist the urge to flash full, bright headlights when you feel a driver have not seen you and you want to notify them of your presence, use blinkers instead. Driving at night should be at a reduced speed to give you time to react to sudden movements.
In the rest of the post, I will be sharing with you details about how to tell if you are blinding other drivers with your headlights at night, reasons why that can happen, how to avoid it and what to do if you are in that situation with oncoming vehicles.
Why your headlights could be blinding other drivers
Research has found that the dazzle and glare from other motorists headlights are getting worse than it used to be. The thing is, the blinding or dazzling effect of a driver’s headlights isn’t just uncomfortable. in some cases it can be nothing short of dangerous, making them lose sight of the road for a short time. Here are some reasons why headlights could be dazzling other drivers:
- slight misalignment of a headlight
- the difference in ride height of different vehicles
- individual people’s vision as eight-in-10 drivers say only some headlights cause glare
- headlights does not meet specific international standards; these standards are what motorists might be surprised to discover haven’t been updated since the 1960s and may not take specific account of newer technologies like xenon and LED headlights.
What happens when you “blind” other drivers with your headlights at night?
As you know, headlights are the single most important tool for you to use in order to be seen by other drivers at night. Of course, our eyesight isn’t quite as good as we would like – after all, our eyes evolved to help us see approaching predators. Incase you don’t know, here are things that might haooen when you flash bright lights in other driver’s eye:
- the glare from a driver’s headlights makes it harder for others to see the road ahead
- bright headlights can confuse the vision and not allow someone understand what the environment is like
- this can cause one to be momentarily dazzled and if their hands aren’t strong on the wheels, they can lose control
Is it illegal to dazzle another driver with your headlights at night?
While there is no specific law surrounding dazzling another driver with your headlights it could be classed as a former careless driving. Careless driving carries an on-the-spot fine of £100 in the UK and around $180 in the US, including three penalty points. While this would help reduce the issue of glare which is a complex one, it does not make it legal or even moral for one to engage in blinding drivers at will.
Also, an overwhelming proportion of drivers now want the Government to act to ensure the regulations are updated to remove the possibility of glare being a result of modern technology. With this, we should expect more strict measures taken to make people use their headlights appropriately at night.
What to do when driving at night and you meet a vehicle with blinding headlights?
If you find yourself face-to-face with a vehicle at night with blinding headlights, you should quickly avert your eyes from the source by looking towards the right side of the road you are driving on. You have do this while maintaining vision on the road and the oncoming vehicle through the corner of your left eye. Ensure you are going on a reduced your speed to allow you time for emergency action.
When you are also meeting an oncoming vehicle at night and the other driver does not put their low beams on but keeps its high beams on, you can avoid being momentarily blinded if you don’t stare directly into the other driver’s headlights. Click here to see a few more tips you can keep in mind when driving at night and would meet oncoming vehicles.
How can you protect yourself against the blindness that accompanies looking at oncoming high beams?
While there is no one-size-fit-all method to protect yourself from the bright headlights of other night drivers, you can always consider two option: a polarized, anti-glare glasses and/or a Polarized Windshield Protector. These things would help in reducing nighttime headlight glare for you on the road.
What to do to make driving at night pleasing for you and others?
It’s true that driving at night is a difficult and dangerous task. However, drivers can make their night driving a whole lot easier by using the right headlight know-how. Some of which are shown below:
- Keep low beams when on a lane where vehicles pass each other.
- Reduce your speed to a manageable pace.
- Even if you have a bright light turned on while on a lonely road, turn that down once you notice an approaching vehicle.
- Because you have polarized glasses or windshield, do not assume that everyone else does. Still consider the eyesight of others and use headlights wisely.
- When not necessary, do not flash your bright blinkers, most times this leave oncoming drivers dazzled when bright lights flash from nowhere.
- Always put yourself in the shoes of other drivers. If you feel you would not be comfortable with a certain light beam, don’t try turning it on while driving at night.
Just remember, even if you have the urge to shine your headlights at night, always be sure that your headlights are not blinding other drivers. If they are, you are making driving very uncomfortable and dangerous for others. Try putting yourself in their shoes to find out how it would feel for them.