Wood, J. M. (2019). Nighttime driving: visual, lighting and visibility challenges. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt, , in press.
Abstract: PURPOSE: Nighttime driving is dangerous and is one of the most challenging driving situations for most drivers. Fatality rates are higher at night than in the day when adjusted for distances travelled, particularly for crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists. Although there are multiple contributory factors, the low light levels at night are believed to be the major cause of collisions with pedestrians and cyclists at night, most likely due to their reduced visibility. Understanding the visibility problems involved in nighttime driving is thus critical, given the increased risk to road safety. RECENT FINDINGS: This review discusses research that highlights key differences in the nighttime road environment compared to the day and how this affects visual function and driving performance, together with an overview of studies investigating how driver age and visual status affect nighttime driving performance. Research that has focused on the visibility of vulnerable road users at nighttime (pedestrians and cyclists) is also included. SUMMARY: Collectively, the research evidence suggests that visual function is reduced under the mesopic lighting conditions of night driving and that these effects are exacerbated by increasing age and visual impairment. Light and glare from road lighting and headlights have significant impacts on vision and night driving and these effects are likely to change with evolving technologies, such as LED streetlighting and headlights. Research also highlights the importance of the visibility of vulnerable road users at night and the role of retroreflective clothing in the 'biomotion' configuration for improving their conspicuity and hence safety.