A recent survey reveals people begin to experience anxiety with driving at night even at young ages, with 40 percent of drivers reporting concerns before age 40. Night driving is not only a problem for the driver who feels unsafe but is also a pervasive issue because it has the potential to impact everyone on the road. Vision plays a key role with low-light conditions and glare limiting the ability to see at night and react quickly. The good news is research shows an effective solution to the problem lies right before our eyes.
A lack of confidence on the road is associated with older drivers, but today there is evidence that many people begin to feel discomfort with driving at night even at young ages. In the results of a May 2014 study by market research firm Toluna and EyePromise Vizual Edge, 40 percent of respondents reported feeling uncomfortable driving at night by age 40.
Night driving is characterized by low-light conditions and glare from oncoming headlights that impact a driver’s vision and can have serious safety implications. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that vision provides as much as 85 percent of the information drivers need to make safe decisions behind the wheel1. Results from the survey reinforce the importance of quality vision with nearly one in four respondents reporting that if they could see better they would feel safer driving at night.
Concerns about safe driving at night and in low-light conditions are valid. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), traffic death rates are three times greater driving at night versus the day2. Unfortunately for many people driving at night is not a choice. In the survey, one in five respondents said that despite feeling anxious they continue to drive at night because it’s a necessity.
Discomfort with driving at night is a pervasive issue—anyone who spends time on the road whether as a driver, passenger or pedestrian has the potential to be impacted by another person’s unsafe driving behavior. The first step toward night driving safety is being aware of the issues that may disrupt a driver’s confidence behind the wheel.
The vision issues related to night driving can be organized into three main categories: low-light conditions, glare disability and recovery, and reaction time.
This makes it harder for the eyes to see contrast and thus identify objects and gauge their distance. It is much more difficult for a person to make out an object or person in the street or to accurately measure how fast they are moving or how far away they are at night versus during the day.
Glare and blinding light
Glare from an oncoming car’s headlights not only disables vision in the moment, but there is a period of time before the eyes recover where people are left driving blind. A five second recovery time at 60 miles per hour is 450 ft. or 1.5 football fields. In fact, glare is one of the most common night driving vision issues, with one out of four survey respondents reporting that they feel unsafe driving at night due to glare.
Reaction time is slower at night. The NSC reports that 90 percent of a driver’s reaction depends on vision2, which is limited at night, so a person’s ability to spot danger and react is compromised. When considering that a typical driver makes 20 decisions per mile and has less than half a second to act to avoid a collision (AAA1), it’s easy to see why improving night vision is in everyone’s best interest.
The Good News
Although younger people are noticing night driving issues, they are also taking steps to address their concerns. Within the survey, respondents under age 40 were the most proactive in adopting safe driving behaviors including driving slower at night and watching the white line on the road. The NSC recommends drivers clean their headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows (inside and out) at least once a week. AAA also adds using the “night” setting on a car’s rearview mirror.
While these are good behaviors for all drivers to adopt, research reveals there is an additional solution proven to directly address the major night driving vision concerns: protecting your vision quality at its source.
Scientific studies reveal that nutrition has a significant impact on visual performance, specifically the nutrients zeaxanthin and lutein. Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that make up the macular pigment—the area of the eye responsible for protecting vision. Trace amounts can be found in foods like leafy greens, corn, eggs and red, orange and yellow peppers, but, since it is difficult to get enough in the American diet, optometrists recommend a nutritional supplement, EyePromise Vizual Edge™, which features the highest levels of dietary zeaxanthin available in a once-daily softgel and a money-back guarantee to improve vision quality within three months. Research like the Zeaxanthin and Visual Function (ZVF) Trial3 has scientifically proven that high levels of dietary zeaxanthin consumed in supplement form improves night driving visual performance, including improving contrast, reducing glare sensitivity and reducing glare recovery time.
“It feels good to know that our products have the power to help people be safer while feeling more confident driving at any age,” said Dr. Dennis Gierhart, founder ofEyePromise®. “We hear a lot of stories from people about the dramatic improvements they experience with EyePromise. In fact, people have begun to call it their EyePromise Moment. While the changes do not happen overnight, protection begins immediately, which is a powerful step in helping to prevent future vision issues both on and off the road.”