Driving at night can be more challenging than driving during daylight hours. There are several reasons for this. The main problem is that light from oncoming traffic can cause a distracting and irritating glare. Even though headlights, fog lights, and high beams are features in place to help drivers see, they tend to have an adverse effect on those coming from the opposite direction. Another reason driving at night can be problematic is that many people have difficulty seeing in a darker setting. This can cause fatigue and slower reaction times. They miss certain hazards that are more visible during the day. Driving at night is, therefore, often riskier overall.
One of the solutions to this problem is night driving glasses. These are designed to reduce the impact of the glare from the oncoming traffic. But do night driving glasses really work? Also known as night sight glasses, or night vision glasses for driving, research has shown that there may be alternative options. Poor vision during darker conditions could be due to the person’s eyesight, in which case prescription glasses are recommended, for example. Here is a quick guide to the effectiveness of night driving glasses and how they actually work.
Everything you need to know about night vision glasses
What are Night Vision Glasses?
Night vision glasses, not to be confused with night vision goggles, are non-prescription glasses that have yellow-tinted lenses and an anti-reflective coating. These both reduce the distracting effect of the glare from oncoming traffic. Night sight driving glasses are similar to those designed for hunting and other outdoor activities which may be affected by the glare from the sun. They are designed to allow the wearer to identify objects more clearly in certain settings.
Night sight glasses for drivers work by adding colour to the bright white light, which makes it easier on the eyes, and is also said to add contrast. They are designed for both glasses wearers and non glasses wearers. Night driving glasses normally come in an oversized design allowing them to be worn over prescription glasses if necessary.
The Pros and Cons to Night Driving Glasses
The main advantage of night vision glasses for driving is that they are said to help prevent the driver from being dazzled by oncoming headlights. Whereas many drivers swear by them, the way they work might actually be more suited to daytime conditions. Hunters, for example, where yellow-tinted glasses to help them spot their prey in an overcast sky. The yellow hue adds contrast making faraway objects stand out. These types of night vision glasses could therefore work better for improving visibility during the day rather than at night.
Night driving glasses make driving at night feel more comfortable for those who are photosensitive. The problem is, however, that there’s little evidence that they improve driving abilities at night. They may increase comfort for the wearer but it’s possible they even reduce visibility, much like wearing sunglasses in darker settings. The best thing to do is to speak to an optometrist to find the best solution for driving at night. They might also be able to clarify certain theories about night vision accessories.
The Research on Night Vision Glasses Effectiveness
There has been research to answer the question do night driving glasses work, and their overall effectiveness. According to a study by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Schepens Eye Research Institute, yellow-tinted glasses didn’t improve the visibility of hazards nor mitigate the glare of oncoming headlights. The 22 participants of the study all had normal visual acuity but were of a wide range of ages. The results of the study caused the authors to conclude that yellow-tinted night glasses shouldn’t be recommended as a solution for poor visibility while driving at night, but in fact, were more likely to have an adverse effect.
According to The EyeCare Trust, in an article about night driving, the author states “tinted lenses actually make vision worse”, and that this goes the same for tinted windscreens. For this reason, The Highway Code doesn’t recommend using any form of tinted glass at night. If you are dazzled by oncoming glare or bright sunlight, instead it’s suggested to slow down, or even pull over and take a break. The general consensus is, therefore, that although night sight glasses provide drivers with a feeling of comfort when facing the glare of oncoming traffic, they may actually decrease visibility.
Steps a Person Should take if Struggling to Drive at Night
If you are struggling to drive at night the first step to take is to make an appointment with an optometrist, even if you don’t wear glasses. They will test your eyesight and recommend the right solution for you. The best night driving glasses are simply standard glasses with the correct prescription. If you wear glasses and have noticed a change in your vision driving during the night compared to in the day, you may need a new prescription.
For any driver, one of the easiest ways to improve visibility at night is to keep your windscreen clean, inside and out. Double-check that your car’s interior and exterior lighting is working properly as well. It’s also a good idea to consider the road and weather conditions before setting off. Rain or fog will add to the problem so it’s best to avoid driving in the dark if the weather is also affecting your visibility.
Speak with An Optometrist for More Information
If you have experienced difficulties driving at night, or have any concern about your vision at all, speak to an optometrist. They will be able to get to the root of the problem and recommend suitable treatments. If you’re looking for night vision glasses in the UK, find a reputable optometrist near you for more information about prescription lenses. At Belson Opticians we can provide advice on the best night driving glasses according to your specific requirements. If you would like further information about night driving glasses, get in touch today.