How To Reduce Headlight Glare At Night

In this article, we’re going to deal with ways to reduce headlight glare at night.

Night driving is dangerous – or it can be. We all know that. The National Safety Council tells us that just over 50% of traffic accidents happen after dark. That’s frightening enough.

But when you consider we do no more than 25% of our total driving after dark, the whole truth hits home.

With that in mind, we did some research of our own. Read on. We’re about to bring you a host of really easy and handy tips to do just that.

Why Headlight Glare At Night Is Bad

First up, let’s just quickly look at what exactly it is that makes headlight glare so uncomfortable and downright dangerous.

Headlight glare is also referred to as “headlight halo.” It is the temporary blindness (it needn’t be more than a second) you experience from the headlights of oncoming traffic. It immediately blinds you to whatever happens on the road and often leads to accidents.

All of this takes place because your eyes are too slow to adjust to the sudden change in brightness. It takes your eyes a few seconds to adjust, and by that time, it may be too late to avoid an accident.

Age also plays a role in this – the older you get, the longer it takes your eyes to adjust. If you’re over 50, it can take your eyes as many as 8 seconds to fully adjust after a blinding glare!

How To Reduce Headlight Glare At Night For Your Car

Your car may well be as big a culprit on the road as other cars. Here are a few things to look out for when you’re doing maintenance, or to have checked out when next you take your vehicle for service.

  1.  Make sure your headlights aren’t misaligned – Even a small fender bender may push your headlights out of alignment, and this can cause glare problems for other motorists.
  2. Make sure your headlights are aimed the right way – if your headlights aren’t aimed properly, it also causes glare issues for oncoming traffic.
  3. Make sure your headlights are clean and NOT cloudy – the lenses are made of polycarbonate, so they oxidize over time. This makes them yellow and dull. Make sure you keep them clean, either with a lens cleaning kit or with a DIY remedy.
  4. Make sure you use the correct bulbs. If you have a weak bulb, your headlight will have a yellow shine. The bluer or whiter the shine, the stronger the bulb. HID or Xenon bulbs are ultra-strong and can cause problems for oncoming traffic.

How To Reduce Headlight Glare At Night From Other Cars

Here are a few ways to protect your eyes against the headlight glare at night coming from other cars. Do these things, and you will protect your eyes when you drive after dark, and also ensure your own safety.

  1. Try not to look directly at the oncoming lights. Drop your eyes slightly to the right, or to the side of the road to avoid the full blast of the oncoming glare.
  2. There are fantastic protective eye gear products available now, specifically designed to take care of this problem. It is well worth researching this, especially if you have sensitive eyes to start with. Specific, non-prescription glasses for nighttime driving aren’t all that expensive, and they could save your life.
  3.  It always helps to keep all the windows of your cars (this includes the windshield, of course) as crystal clean as possible. Blemishes on the glass surfaces only make the glare worse.
  4. You can avoid your own headlights becoming distracting by making sure they’re properly aligned. If they shine beams in different directions, your brain struggles to focus on the road, and this is as dangerous as the glare from oncoming traffic.
  5. Make sure your side mirrors are well positioned. If you set them up correctly, you can minimize the glare coming from headlights on cars behind you.

A parting shot

Nighttime driving safety is actually easy, but it takes a team effort. As much as you take care of your own glare protection, you should also be protective of the glare experience of drivers coming towards you. Keep your eyes and your car’s headlights in good order for safer, more pleasant roads!

Check out our most popular pages to find the best headlight bulbs.

Check out the brightest headlight bulbs as well.

Photo of author

Richard Nickleson is the author and owner behind Headlight Reviews. He first started the site as a hobby to share his insights on car parts and specifically headlight bulbs, but it soon ballooned and now he writes on all topics surrounding headlights bulbs. If you've got a bulb question, contact Richard here.