Night Driving Glasses: Fact or Fiction?
Navigating the roads at night presents challenges, including diminished visibility, the blinding glare of oncoming headlights and resulting strain on our eyes. Enter night driving glasses: a so-called solution to the above complications, promising enhanced visibility and a reduction in glare. But do they really work? Is their efficacy real or is it just pure marketing hype? In this article, we will dive into the world of night driving glasses, scrutinising all potential pitfalls and investigating the presence (or potential absence) of scientific backing to the claims. In the end, we will guide you on selecting the most effective eyewear for night time driving.
What are Night Driving Glasses?
Marketed as a specialised solution for nocturnal motorists, night driving glasses are eyewear made with the intent to augment visibility curtailing glare while driving after dark. These glasses typically have yellow or amber-hued lenses, which allegedly bolster contrast, filter out blue light and mitigate glare produced by the oncoming headlights. Additionally, there are some manufacturers that advocate for the inclusion of anti-reflective coatings on their lenses to further diminish any glare.
Why Night Driving Glasses Might Be a Bad Idea
Despite these claims being made by manufacturers, night driving glasses might not be the best solution for night time driving challenges. Here's why:
- • Reduced light transmission: The yellow or amber tint in night driving glasses can in fact reduce the amount of light that reaches your eyes, thus making it more difficult to see in low-light conditions. This reduction in light transmission actually compromises your vision and potentially makes driving at night even more hazardous.
- • A False sense of security: Wearing night driving glasses might give drivers a major false sense of security, leading them to drive faster or even take more risks than they would without these glasses. This overconfidence can increase the likelihood of accidents.
- • Lack of standardisation: There is no standardised testing or regulatory body for night driving glasses, meaning the quality and effectiveness can vary massively between different brands and models.
Research Shows No Benefit
A few studies have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of night driving glasses and results have been largely inconclusive or negative. Research has shown that yellow or amber-tinted lenses can reduce glare in certain specific situations, but they do not consistently improve visibility or reaction times during night time driving!
A study published in the journal "Optometry and Vision Science" found that yellow-tinted lenses reduced the discomforting glare from oncoming headlights but did not improve overall visibility or contrast sensitivity. Another study in 2019 found that night driving glasses did not improve reaction times or target detection in a night time driving simulator, In fact, it reached the conclusion that night driving glasses actually did slow down users’ visual reflexes (although only by a fraction of a second), but still making their night vision worse compared to when they weren’t wearing these.
These studies conclude that night driving glasses may not provide significant benefits, and in some cases they may actually do the opposite of what they claim to help with and even impair night time visibility due to reduced light transmission.
Best Glasses for Night Driving
Instead of having to rely on night driving glasses, please consider the following alternatives to improve your night time driving experience:
• Prescription Glasses with Anti-Reflective Coating: When prescription eyewear is necessary, you should go for lenses featuring an anti-reflective coating. This addition is essential as it helps minimise any glare from oncoming headlights and other light sources, thereby improving your overall visibility.
• Headlight Maintenance: Prioritise keeping your vehicle's headlights clean, correctly adjusted and functioning optimally. This attention to detail not only enhances your visibility but goes one step further by decreasing the chances of causing glare for other drivers out there.
• Routine Eye Exams: Scheduling regular eye exams can identify and help address any vision issues you may have that may hinder your ability to drive at night. If you struggle with night time visibility, you should consult an eye care professional first to discuss the most appropriate course of action or treatment.
• Practice safe driving habits: Always practice safe driving habits, such as maintaining a safe distance from the car in front, using your high beams responsibly and adjusting your rearview mirror to the "night" setting to reduce glare from any headlights that may be behind you on the road.
Despite the loosely based marketing claims, night driving glasses may not be anywhere close to as effective as they are claimed to be. Scientific research has demonstrated minimal, or no benefits from using these glasses and surprisingly, in some instances, they may even impede your night time visibility. Rather than relying on night driving glasses it is crucial you concentrate on proper eye care, headlight maintenance and of course always practicing safe driving habits.
In order to enhance your night time driving experience, consider first using prescription glasses with an anti-reflective coating whilst ensuring that your headlights are clean and adjusted properly. Finally, commit to regular eye exams to address any vision concerns you may be experiencing. By embracing these measures and prioritising safety, you can bolster your visibility and at the same time mitigate risks associated with driving after dark.
To summarise, the concept of night driving glasses may be more fiction than fact, as scientific evidence supporting their use is limited or inconclusive. It is also crucial to approach night driving glasses with skepticism and prioritise already proven methods for improving night time driving safety. Maintaining good eye health, keeping your vehicle in optimal conditions and following safe driving habits will ultimately contribute to a better and safer driving experience at night. If you are looking for some facts and knowledge about night driving with contact lenses or contact lenses vs glasses in terms of usability and price, we have it all for you here on our blog.
Author: John Dreyer Optometrist Bsc(Hons), MCOPTOM, DipCLP
Created: 6 Apr 2023, Last modified: 6 Apr 2023