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How to improve your night vision for a safer ride in St. Mary’s County

Drivers young and old throughout Southern Maryland know it can be dangerous to drive at night, when vision is easily compromised by poorly lit roads, glare from other vehicles and a host of additional hazards. Such obstacles can easily cause car accidents, roughly one-third of which occur at night.

But while external factors like inadequate lighting on roadways or glare from other vehicles can contribute to poor driving conditions, nighttime accidents are often caused by a driver’s own vision. A driver’s visual acuity is reduced by 70 percent at night, a figure that is even higher among older drivers. The human eye is simply not adapted for nocturnal vision, so colors tend to disappear and contrast fades away while driving at night.

That reality is why drivers must take steps to improve their vision when driving at night. Fortunately, there are several ways motorists can do just that.

Inspect headlight lenses. The plastic headlight lenses used on today’s cars can get increasingly cloudy over time. They tend to yellow and get hazy from the effects of ozone, road debris, pollution, age, and even trips to the carwash. As a result, headlight lenses can quickly become ineffective.

But if headlight lenses appear cloudy or yellow upon inspection, drivers don’t have to break the bank with a costly headlight replacement. The Philips Headlight Lens Restoration Kit can restore the lens to “like new” clarity. It’s easy to use and has a UV coating that will protect the plastic from further damage.

Frequently check windshield washer fluid. Inclement weather not only makes road conditions unpredictable and often treacherous, but also makes it easy for drivers to forget to check their windshield washer fluid. Popping the hood to check your vehicle’s fluid levels when it’s snowing or just downright freezing outside might not be enjoyable, but it is necessary. Salt from snowy roads or debris blown about from winter winds can easily accumulate on the windshield, greatly reducing visibility. Be sure to check your windshield washer fluid routinely during the winter months, and clean your headlights after driving in inclement weather to remove dirt, film, snow and ice buildup.

Replace headlight bulbs. The performance of a headlight bulb dwindles over time, as a bulb’s light output is reduced by humidity, electrical resistance, filament fatigue and general usage. To combat normal wear and tear, experts recommend that vehicle owners replace their headlight bulbs every two years.

When replacing headlight bulbs, drivers can upgrade existing bulbs with a new generation of high performance light bulbs that mark a dramatic improvement over the traditional halogen bulbs that are standard on most vehicles. Philips Upgrade Headlight Bulbs are designed to put substantially more light on the road while creating a better beam pattern that is much longer than that produced by standard halogen bulbs. The Philips Headlight Bulbs come in a variety of types that are tailored to meet specific driver’s needs from daily commuters to soccer moms to sports enthusiasts. Even motorcycle owners can benefit from the improved lighting with the Philips MotoVision Headlight Bulb, a special light made for motorcycles that also creates a unique orange reflection so other motorists distinguish the motorcycle from other vehicles.

* Routinely clean your vehicle’s glass and mirrors. Debris and film buildup on the windshield glass and your rearview and side view mirrors can reduce vision, especially for drivers who smoke inside their vehicles. Make cleaning the glass and mirrors inside and outside of your vehicle part of your routine maintenance. It won’t take very long and it will significantly improve visibility. When cleaning side view mirrors, be sure to properly adjust them to eliminate blind spots.

More information on improving your vehicle’s lighting is available at www.philips.com/automotive.

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