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Why might older drivers want to stop driving at night?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Car And Truck Accidents

Driving can be dangerous at any time of day and at any stage of your life. While there is a lot to be said for the experience and maturity of drivers in the later stages of life, a few physical factors can reduce their safety.

One of these is weakening eyesight. As we age, our eyes become worse, which is why you tend to see a lot of older people putting on their glasses to read a restaurant menu, for example. Reduced lighting, such as you get on the roads at night, can exacerbate this problem.

Your pupils cannot expand as widely or as quickly

When you are younger, your pupils can quickly expand when you enter a dark patch on the road to allow in more light and enable you to continue seeing well. As you age, your pupil becomes less able to do so, with the result that less light can enter, making it harder to see.

Your pupils cannot close as quickly, either

Imagine you are driving along at night on an unlit road, then a car approaches the other way. The brightness from its headlights could cause you glare at any age, but when you are younger, your pupil can close down more quickly to limit how much gets in – reducing the glare you experience. As you age, your pupils take longer to close down, so the experience of glare will be worse for you, perhaps causing you to lose sight of the road.

Why does this matter?

Driving safely is a complex skill, and anything that affects your ability to do it will reduce your safety. If your eyes can no longer cope so well with darkness or sudden changes in light, your crash risk will go up. While you can claim compensation if a collision was another driver’s fault, reducing the amount you drive at night may help you avoid this situation altogether.