Is Night Driving Driving You Into Blindness?

May 28th, 2014

Those lights will cause more accidents than they prevent

Those lights will cause more accidents than they prevent

I drive quite a lot as I move about for my health in a seasonal manner. Rarely driving at night, the odd need to do so indicated just how problematic this is nowadays. Modern vehicles are now equipped or modified with forms of lighting that literally seem to burn out your eyes as they warm the cockles of your heart from behind you on the I-roads.

Looking up this eye fatigue and other serious implications for my health, I saw a website on macular degeneration that links that growing vision problem to these types of lights. Managing to get off a shot with my camera that delineates these abnormally bright lights from normal headlights, I sent this letter to the AAA, the Opthamologists of America and to the California Traffic Safety offices for remarks.

To Whom it May Concern,

I am writing to you regarding a potential source of harm to vision in the driving public. A long time driver, I recall being taught that one’s ‘brights’ ought to only be used on dark roads when there are no other drivers ahead of you or approaching you from the opposite lane. Of late, most drivers appear to be employing their ‘high beams’ as if they were completely ignorant of the increased risk of driver accidents from temporary blindness.

Over time, frequent night drivers (e.g. truckers) might find themselves suffering from conditions of macular degeneration and retinal damage given these unnecessary exposures. The following source deems exposure to lights of this intense nature to contribute towards eye damage. Personally, I find this painful and include a picture of one such encounter I had that momentarily impaired my sight. Stopping for the safety of myself and other drivers, I grabbed my camera to capture this highly inappropriate source of glare. Why would this driver require high intensity beams while the rest of us have no difficulty with the existing lighting on a major California road in the city of Napa?

My suggestions in pursuing this problem is to first determine whether this high intensity lighting is typical of all car makes and models or restricted to particular cars and trucks. Next, are these intense settings under a driver’s control or a default setting when turning on lights after dark? Many years ago, it was not unusual for police in marked cars to stop a car on the streets of New York City and request a reason why a driver was using ‘high beams’ without necessity.

Given the existing lighting conditions on major roads and our knowledge of how hazardous even momentary interference with clarity of vision can be on heavily trafficked roads, might this be a suitable area for investigation? Inasmuch as macular degeneration is becoming more commonplace and nearly all Californians drive and are exposed to this intense source of bright light, is there a chance we can reduce this kind of damage through driver education?

Thank you for your attention.

Yours truly,

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Letters

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