Driving at Night Just Plain Unnerving: 37 Million Sometimes Avoid Getting Behind the Wheel After Dark

Oct 22, 2010, 14:12 ET from OSRAM SYLVANIA

HILLSBORO, N.H., Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey commissioned by SYLVANIA suggests that half of American drivers desire better visibility during nighttime driving, and that many actually avoid traveling in the dark.

According to the survey of U.S. licensed drivers, approximately 51 percent somewhat agree or strongly agree with the statement, "At times, while driving at night, I wish I could see the road better." And, nearly one in five say they sometimes avoid getting behind the wheel at night because it is too difficult to see.

"That's 37 million people that won't drive at night. And this isn't limited to just older drivers. Half are under the age of 55," said Joe Verbanic, Marketing Manager for SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting. "Driving at night is a stressful and uncomfortable experience for way too many of us. The good thing is that if drivers take a few precautionary measures, they can increase their visibility and keep safe during their nighttime travels."

The survey, conducted by KRC Research, assessed drivers' attitudes about nighttime driving. The data was gathered through a telephone survey of 1,014 adults nationwide with a total of 943 licensed drivers. The survey was conducted September 16 - September 19, 2010.

Additional results include:

  • 51 percent of drivers would feel safer at night with brighter headlights; the majority of drivers aged 18-34 would feel safer.
  • 45 percent of men say they wish they could see better at night while behind the wheel.
  • 34 percent of respondents report inadequate headlights as the main reason for poor nighttime visibility.
  • Uncertainty about nighttime driving was more prominent with female drivers.
    • 57 percent wish they could see the road better at night.
    • Women are twice as likely as men (24 percent vs. 12 percent) to avoid driving at night because of difficulty seeing.

"The research results prove that there is a definite need for education among U.S. drivers about what they can do to enhance their nighttime visibility," said Verbanic. "Most individuals aren't aware that headlights dim over time or that there are varying levels of technology that allow for better visibility."

Verbanic explains that bulbs can dim up to 20 percent in two years. This could be impacting a driver's ability to see year after year if headlight bulbs are not replaced.

There are headlight bulbs available that improve a driver's field of vision. Verbanic suggests that since many consumers don't frequently shop for headlight bulbs they aren't aware there are street legal options that are brighter and whiter than what's standard in their vehicle.

Some drivers may also be struggling to see at night because their headlight lenses have degraded. Hazy lenses restrict and alter light output but can easily be restored to like new performance with a special kit.    

"It is critical for drivers to have excellent visibility so that they can see better and are able to recognize hazards like debris, animals, and most importantly, pedestrians. Whiter, brighter headlights benefit all drivers and should become a staple for those who are either uncomfortable driving at night or could benefit from an improved field of vision," said Verbanic.

For more information about the full line of headlight replacement bulbs from SYLVANIA or to view an online catalog, visit www.sylvania.com/auto. You can also download SYLVANIA's free iPhone app at the iTunes store, which makes it easy for drivers to find the correct replacement headlights, signal bulbs and almost all other auto bulbs for their car, truck, van or SUV. SYLVANIA auto lighting products can be found at major automotive retail outlets. For general information on all SYLVANIA lighting, including home, commercial and auto, connect with the brand team on facebook.com/sylvania, at Twitter handle @sylvania, or at www.youtube.com/sylvanialight.

About OSRAM SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting

OSRAM SYLVANIA, together with OSRAM GmbH, is the world leader in automotive lighting for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the aftermarket.  The company's global automotive lighting division has its principal North American operations in Hillsboro, N.H., with nearly 500 employees.  In addition to TS 16949, this facility has also achieved ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications.  Automotive Lighting designs, develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art automotive light sources, including auxiliary, advanced halogen, LED and high-intensity discharge lighting for interior, exterior and forward lighting applications.  More than 400 lamp types are produced for cars, trucks, and electronics in facilities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Automotive applications for OEMs are marketed under the OSRAM brand while products for the aftermarket are sold under the SYLVANIA brand. For more information, visit www.sylvania.com/auto.


OSRAM SYLVANIA is a leader in lighting solutions and specialty products that feature innovative design and energy saving technology. The company sells products for homes, businesses and vehicles primarily under the SYLVANIA brand name, and also under the OSRAM brand. Headquartered in Danvers, MA, OSRAM SYLVANIA is the North American operation of OSRAM GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens AG. For more information, visit www.sylvania.com.