Seeing when driving at night
The accident rate during night time driving is considerable higher than during day time driving. One major factor is temporary blindness caused by the glare of headlights. Drivers should do all they possibly can to “see and be seen” by maintaining headlights at top efficiency? Do you know that even the finest headlights can lose more than half of their effectiveness if they are not kept clean and in proper focus? Several weeks of shortened daylight hours means more night driving, do all you can to avoid being blinded by glare of oncoming headlights-and avoid blinding the other fellow. The human eye does all it can to help us see in poor light by enlarging the pupil to admit all possible illumination, but that very fact leaves us vulnerable. When a bright headlight beam strikes that wide open pupil, it contracts instantaneously—60 times faster than it can enlarge—leaving us momentarily blind.
If we are driving at 40 miles an hour, our vehicle will travel at least 200 feet during our blind interval. When we face an approaching vehicle, our first step is to dim our headlights—as a courtesy to the other driver, and as a reminder for the other driver to do likewise. If this fails, we can flick our lights to high beam and back at once to dim. Surely they will get this signal! If that doesn't work, our best bet is to decrease speed and focus our eyes on the right hand margin of the roadway. By all that's sensible, we must not “bluff it out” with the other driver by keeping our bright lights on. That could lead to a real mess!
*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.