If you’ve ever driven at night, you’ve surely experienced headlight glare. That somewhat disorienting experience when headlights are zooming past you, and you feel momentarily distracted or even blinded by the bright lights. That is headlight glare, and it can be more than just an annoying experience. 

“Many drivers described being ‘blinded’ for a few seconds after exposure to the glare and needed to slow down, while others mentioned their involvement in a crash or a near miss,” explained the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

For some drivers, this glare can be a persistent issue. Drivers who suffer from migraines report that headlight glare can trigger a migraine, or make an existing migraine worse. It becomes a similar problem for people with any kind of vision or light sensitivity.

First, you should know that if you’re feeling frustrated by headlight glare, you’re not alone. It’s a common experience, and unfortunately some people are more sensitive to it than others. If that’s you, here are 5 practical tips to help you cope with headlight glare.

1. Clean your windshield, windows, and mirrors

Dirty and streaky windshields can make headlight glare worse, because it makes the light refract in a different way. Try to keep your windshield and windows extra clean if you suffer from headlight glare, using something like Windex or windshield wiper cleaner to avoid streaks on the glass. You should also keep your rearview mirror and side mirrors clean, too.

2. Maintain and clean your headlights

The last thing you need if you’re experiencing headlight glare is reduced visibility from bad headlights on your own car. Overall, headlight glare is something that impacts your visibility as a driver, so you don’t want to add to the problem with foggy headlights. 

All headlights will experience some wear and tear over time, mostly from sun damage and regular use. Check out our top home remedies for foggy headlights for practical tips on how to maintain your headlights at home. 

3. Don’t look directly at oncoming headlights

This may sound obvious, but some drivers are hesitant to avert their eyes because they don’t want to look away from the road. The trick is to avoid looking directly at the headlights of other cars, while still staying aware of what’s ahead of you. Don’t look down, but try to avoid looking directly into other cars.

4. Take breaks from driving as often as needed

Headlight glare becomes more dangerous when you try to power through. If you’re driving a long distance at night, or if you’re particularly sensitive to headlight glare, allow yourself to take breaks. Find safe places to pull over and rest your eyes. 

5. If you suffer from migraines, avoid driving at night

Keeping your car and headlights clean, averting your eyes, and taking breaks can only go so far. If you’re truly experiencing headlight glare as a migraine trigger, or are already experiencing a migraine or other ocular disruption, it’s not a good time to drive. Especially if you’re seeing spots or prone to tunnel vision, driving at night could be very dangerous as your reflexes become slowed. Of course, that might sound easier said than done; no one wants to get stuck somewhere because they have to wait for a migraine to pass. Instead, try to plan ahead so that you’re not driving alone at night. 

Veronica Camara
Veronica is an independent content strategist, writer, and speaker, partnering with global brands and agencies to solve complex content challenges. Prior to consulting work, she was an in-house content strategist at Charles Schwab. She is currently living in sunny Playa del Carmen, Mexico and works remotely with clients across the USA and Canada.

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    6 Comments

    1. Good to know I was right. I always tell my best friend tips like this. She’s always complaining she cant see anything.

    2. it’s important to keep your car clean not only for the looks of it but also for you safety when driving. Not only at night with need better vision but also during the day it’s very important for the mirrors to be clear. Like the article states there is a lot of ways to help our car last longer by taking care of it.

    3. Very interesting to see that the maintenance of your own head lights and your windows can actually help improve headlight glare issues. I’m going to be doing this with my car tonight.

    4. Hmm this is interesting. I actually have a huge issue with the glare with oncoming traffic. I always wondered if it was my glasses creating the issue.

    5. I love this article! Its amazing how simple yet effective a clean windshield can be.

    6. I can attest to how important keeping one’s windshield clean is. It makes a world of a difference.

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