How Long Does It Take To Recover From Headlight Glare?

Did you know that 12-15% of all accidents happen due to high beam glare?

Back in September of 2019, I was driving around 11 o’clock at night. This F150 passed right by me with its high beam. The light was so blinding that it took me around 4-5 seconds to regain my proper vision on this poorly dim road.

I still imagine what would have happened if a car had been in front of me. It was my worst experience with glare recovery time!

Now, you can’t stop inexperienced drivers from using high beams at night. But you can learn the do’s and don’ts in situations where your vision is impaired by glare.

In this article, I will try to explain glare recovery time. I’ll also touch on the topic of stopping glare from your own vehicle. Hopefully, these will help you better handle situations like mine.

What is glare?

Glare is temporary blindness you experience when staring directly into a light source. Headlights and sunlight are the primary causes of glare for drivers. Headlight glare is often called headlight halo and is mostly caused by high beams.

We experience glare because our eyes need to adjust to the lighting. Imagine turning on the lights of your room in the middle of the night. If the lights are bright enough, your eyes will take a few moments to adjust to the light.

When driving at night, an oncoming vehicle with high beams can cause glare or temporary blindness. As a result, you may only see the outline of a headlight for several seconds until you finally get your normal vision back. Those seconds spent are the time your eyes need to adjust to the sudden increase of light.

It takes 3 to 7 seconds to recover from glare

For younger people, GRT (Glare Recovery Time) is 3 to 5 seconds. As you get older and your vision decreases, recovering from a headlight halo or glare from the sun can take up to 7 seconds.

Even a single second is essential while driving. Therefore, glaring light is a significant problem for drivers as they get blinded temporarily. And even after recovering from a glare after a few seconds, the outline of the glare source can still remain in your vision. As you can expect, this can be dangerous to drivers.

What to do when a high beam approaches you?

Here are a few tips to prevent glare when a car with a high beam approaches your vision:

  • Try not to look at the headlights: This is an obvious tip, but there’s more to it. Our eyes can automatically look at the lights even though we know it will cause glare. Therefore, building a habit of not staring at headlights can work well.
  • Flash your high beams: Sometimes, drivers causing the glare are unaware of it. That’s why you should let them know by flashing your high beams on and off. It is a well-known signal amongst drivers, meaning their headlight is blinding.
  • Speed up to pass the driver: To avoid glare, try speeding up a little to pass the driver with bright headlights. Make sure you are not passing the speed limit.

How to reduce glare

You can take some steps to make your car or yourself glare-proof to some extent. Here are some of them:

  • Anti-glare driving lenses: Using glasses just to prevent glare can sound a bit too much. But if you live in an area where glare from the sun is expected, they are a good investment. After the incident I faced in 2019, I got myself the Rocknight glasses. I use the grey ones as they look stylish and can also be used in other activities!
  • Keeping the windshield and mirrors clean: Light refraction happens if your rearview mirrors or the windshield isn’t clean. As a result, even a tiny amount of light can cause glare. I always try to clean my windshield and mirrors before a long drive to ensure no glare.
  • Make sure your headlights are clean and OK: If you are driving with dim lights, even standard low beams of other cars can be blinding. This is due to the adjustment time of the eyes. So, ensure your headlights are clean and do not block any light. Also, periodically change the bulbs if they start to get dimmer.
  • Check-in with your eye doctor: People with vision problems can experience more glare than others. If you get blindness from light regularly, it is a good idea to get your eyes checked up.
  • Make a habit of using the rearview mirror’s night mode: Did you know your rearview mirror has a night mode feature. It reduces glare significantly from the cars behind you. Make sure to use that when driving at night. You can also invest in an auto-dimming rearview mirror to be safer.

Adjusting headlights for minimal glare

I have previously written about adjusting LED headlights to reduce glare and having the best vision.

I’ll also link you all to this excellent YouTube video I liked back in 2015 that helped me adjust my first headlights.

Final Note

I hope we all agree that we must take anti-glare measurements in our vehicles to stay safe. Such measurements can range from cleaning your windshields regularly to buying an auto-dimming rearview mirror. So, do whatever is necessary to make your driving as secure as possible!

Lastly, we all have a story with blinding and glaring lights as drivers. If you have an interesting incident that happened to you relating to headlight glare, I would love to read them!

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