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Why Do I Struggle Driving At Night?

Driving at night can be riskier than driving during the day, due to reduced light and certain eye conditions can affect your ability to see in these dimmer conditions.

This problem impacts drivers all around the world, and is one of the most common complaints my clients have!

Have you ever wondered, "Why can't I see as well when I drive at night?". While the answer may vary depending on individual cases, this blog will help you understand some reasons you have trouble seeing whilst driving at night, and what you can do to do to alleviate the problem.

Is it common?

Yes! Out of 34 million drivers in the UK, 17 million struggle to see at night.

It's also thought that 31% of those avoid driving at night as a result. Extremely debilitating in the winter when it can be dark by 4pm!

Is it dangerous?

It can be extremely dangerous; the accident fatality rate is reportedly three times greater at night than during the day. One study found that over 60% of vehicle accidents happen at night time, due to factors such as visual fatigue and performance, as well as poor visibility.

Why is driving at night difficult?

There are many factors that contribute to making night driving tricky, but many of them are treatable, improving your ability to see at night. Your optometrist can identify the underlying cause during your eye examination.


A cataract is the clouding of your eye’s natural lens, making it harder to see. While you may not notice any changes to your vision at first, it can become harder to see at night as your cataract progresses. The cloudiness of the lens causes light to scatter more, making night driving extremely uncomfortable.

Modern headlights

You're not alone when feeling that headlights are brighter than they used to be! Modern cars use xenon headlights which sit at the blue end of the light spectrum, rather than traditional yellow-ish headlights which sat at the red end. Blue light scatters more as it passes through the pupil, which is why these modern headlights can feel unbearable. Not only that, our pupils are larger in dim conditions, increasing this light scatter further... a true recipe for disaster!


If your glasses don't have a specific light management treatment, and simply have an old style 'lens coating' this may be causing light to scatter as it passes through your spectacle lens. Dirty glasses will also cause increased scatter/glare!

What can I do?

Have regular eye examinations with your optometrist.

They will be able to advise you on any potential eye conditions and offer appropriate treatment plans.

Ensure your spectacle prescription is kept up to date.

Clear vision when driving at night is essential for everyone's safety; make sure you have the best vision possible.

Talk to your dispensing optician.

They will be able to advise on new technological advancements available in spectacle lenses. You wouldn't be happy using a phone with 10-year-old technology, so ensure your lens technology is kept up to date too!

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