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Traffic death rates are three times greater at night, yet many of us are unaware of the hazards that night driving poses or effective ways to manage them safely.
If you want to improve your vision and safety please read further... We've got a suggestion for you too on an after-market product that helps you see better at night.
First and foremost, it's important to understand what we lose.
Drivers lose the advantage of color and contrast that is available during the day and depth perception and peripheral vision are also diminished. Especially for older drivers that's a big problem and they can increase the risk for all.
Be extra careful approaching intersections, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, because that's where 40 percent of fatal collisions involving older motorists occur. The most common reason is a 'failure to yield' especially when making a left turn.
To avoid glare, Road and Travel magazine says "Instead of looking at oncoming headlights, look toward the right side of the road and watch the white line marking the outside edge of the traffic lane. When headlights from vehicles following you reflect in your rearview mirror, use the "day-night" feature on the mirror or adjust your mirror to cut out as much of the light as possible.
Adjust your vehicle's interior lighting. If streetlights cause a lot of glare, dim your dashboard lights and use your sun visor. Avoid using any other light inside your vehicle.
Prevent fatigue - Night driving can be tiring, so ensure good ventilation inside the vehicle and take frequent refreshment breaks to give your eyes a chance to recover. Take a short nap or a brisk walk, or have some caffeine to help you stay alert.
Use vehicle mirrors to your advantage - Exterior mirrors that are properly aligned not only reduce blind spots, they also reduce glare from vehicles behind you. The outside rearview mirrors should be adjusted so that the bodywork of the vehicle is just outside of the driver's view. In addition, the rearview mirror can be flipped to its "day-night" setting, which changes the angle of the reflective surface and appears to dim the mirror.
Have your eyes checked. Many eye care professionals strongly recommend eyeglasses that have an anti-reflective (AR) coating. This ultra-thin film reduces internal reflections in the lenses. AR-coated glasses actually transmit more light than regular lenses, which improves vision at night and helps distinguish fine details during the day.
Of course, it also helps if you have a car that offers the latest technology in illuminating the darkness. Xenon lights provide greater brilliance and range and "adaptive headlights' such as those available in BMW vehicles that give greater illumination of the road ahead, as do features that automatically turn high beams on and off.
The core of "BMW's Night Vision" is FLIR Systems' thermal imaging camera. With a thermal imaging camera, people can see a distance that is 5 times greater than what conventional headlights currently offer, says Bill Lehmanowsky with FLIR Commercial Systems, Wilsonville, OR.
The first aim of the system is to detect living objects such as pedestrians and animals which are not illuminated in total darkness. Due to its size, performance, cost, and high reliability, FLIR says its PathFindIR is an ideal nighttime vision camera for a variety of transportation and other driver’s vision enhancement applications. Drivers of fire rescue, mining, recreational, commercial, and passenger vehicles all benefit from the ability to see more and react sooner to obstacles in their path at night.
To see more on how thermal imaging assists night driving:
thermal imaging demo
Last but not least, when will automakers start adding thermal imaging cameras to cars for mainstream consumers? Many of us, I'm guessing, would welcome the option to purchase such a feature either built-in or added-on... Would you?