Top Tips for Night Driving, and How Matrix LED with Glare-Free High Beam Helps Drivers See More at Night

  • Ford’s Matrix LED with glare-free high beam boast a clever high-beam boost function
  • Teens and novice drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes at night
  • Fatigue and reduced reaction time are just two contributing reasons

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA, 10 August 2023 Most people understand that driving on dark and dimly lit roads can be difficult and dangerous – but a disproportionate number of drivers involved in crashes after dark are teen and novice drivers. The reason for this, according to some reports, are fatigue related: a lack of night-driving experience and the reduced times to react, or recovery from glare after being dazzled by bright lights1.

Statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association2 in the U.S. show that young or novice drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision between 9pm and midnight than during daylight hours.

Here are eight key tips and lessons drivers should remember when driving at night:

Clean the inside of your windscreen

Most people think that a dirty windscreen is a one-sided affair and only clean the outside. But smeared fingerprints and condensation on the inside of the windscreen can also compromise your view of the road ahead. External light can hit these smears and cause glare on the inside of the vehicle. So, keep a microfibre cloth handy and clean the inside of the windscreen regularly.

Use the correct lights

If you’re driving in fog, make sure you use fog lights where fitted. These are designed to be used in bad weather conditions where visibility is poor. They work by aiming a beam of light that illuminates the area in front of your vehicle rather than projecting a beam down the road and lighting up the fog. High-beam headlights can have the opposite effect, lighting up the fog and making it impossible to see down the road. If your vehicle has fog lights, the switch to activate them will be on the lighting control panel. You should only activate the fog lights at times of reduced visibility. Also, daytime running lamps are designed to improve the visibility of your vehicle to others during the day. They are not designed to replace the function of your fog lights.

Don’t look at the light

When driving at night your eyes adjust to the dimly lit cabin and the dark road ahead. Sudden blasts of light, like the headlights of oncoming vehicles, reduce the contrast in your night vision, hindering your ability to see hazards1. To avoid being dazzled, look slightly to the side of the light beam to protect your night vision.

Keep an eye out for animals

Many animals are more active at night and can be difficult to spot. Some may also be attracted to headlights and may run into your path, causing you to take evasive action. If you know what to look out for, you stand a better chance of spotting an animal on or next to the road, giving yourself the best possible opportunity to slow down safely to avoid a collision. One tell-tale sign will be light reflected in their eyes, which will appear as pinpoints of bright light. You’ll often see their eyes before you can see the whole animal.

Furthermore, a good habit to form while driving is to always look as far down the road as your visibility and conditions allow. Spotting hazards from a distance helps ensure you’re always best prepared for what’s ahead.

What’s the range?

Low-beam headlights generally project a beam out to around 70 metres while high-beam headlights project out to approximately 200 metres. The Ranger Raptor and upcoming Ranger Wildtrak X’s Matrix LED with glare-free high beam feature a clever high-beam boost function. When conditions are safe and appropriate, this function can project a beam, utilising a cluster of dormant LEDs, to further illuminate the road and any potential dangers it may contain.

Matrix LED with glare-free high beam

Advanced Matrix LED headlights with glare-free high beam, in the case of Raptor and Wildtrak X, work with the vehicle’s forward-facing camera, to detect head- or taillights up to 800 metres away. When the system detects another vehicle, it turns off those LEDs that would otherwise dazzle other road users, keeping the oncoming vehicle, or the vehicle being followed, ‘in the dark’.

While light is blocked from reaching the other vehicle, the high beam lighting keeps the area around that vehicle illuminated.

The system will only work under the following conditions:

  • If your vehicle is travelling more than 40km/h.
  • If the system detects no head- or taillights in its ‘field of vision’.
  • If the glare-free high beam has been activated via SYNC, and if the ambient light is low enough that you require high beams.

Not all roads are straight

Ford’s Matrix LED headlights also offer dynamic bending functionality (low beam only) which uses sensors to measure vehicle speed and steering angle to swivel the headlight up to 15 degrees. That’s enough ‘bend’ to illuminate most hairpin turns. In addition to dynamic bending lights, new Ranger also offers static cornering lights that activate when the vehicle is turning.

Automatic High Beam Control

If your vehicle is not equipped with Matrix LED with glare-free high beam, but has Automatic High Beam Control, then this system will use Ranger’s forward-facing sensors to detect head- or taillights of other vehicles and will switch the high beam on or off if conditions allow.

The dangers of night driving can be significantly reduced from the integration of these cutting-edge headlight technologies, fitted to the latest Everest and Ranger, but are most effective when combined with responsible driving practices.


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