Simple Safety Tips for Driving at Night
The National Safety Council states that the amount of vehicular deaths triples at night versus during the day, even though there are less drivers on the road. While driving at night can be more dangerous than driving during the day due to less visibility, increased risk for drunk drivers, and more encounters with wildlife on the roads, there are ways to make it safer if you need to drive at night or in the early morning. The last thing you’d want is to have an accident that could have been avoided, and an increase in your auto insurance policy.
When the sun sets, our ability to see decreases as depth perception, peripheral vision, and color recognition diminish with the low level of light. In order to obtain the most illumination from our car, headlights should be checked to ensure they’re working properly; it’s important that old or dimmed bulbs are quickly replaced. Also be sure to wipe off the grime and dust periodically from your headlights, as well as from your rear lights and brake lights.
The average low beam lights will only illuminate the road from 160 to 250 feet in front of your car, and standard high beams will cast light onto about 350 to 500 feet – if you had to stop suddenly while driving at night, you don’t have much of a safety zone before you hit what you see with the range of your lights.
Also it’s very important to keep your windshield clean and free of streaks and dust. Although, during the day you may be able to see clearly through the glass, at night, light can reflect off of the grime and cause blurriness or distracting haziness. Newspaper is helpful to help clean your windshield of streaks and oils, as well as a microfiber cloth, or a clean cloth and Windex.
If you’re able to, try to drive with a passenger. Not only will they help you stay more awake by talking to you and keeping you company, they can also be another set of eyes on the road. If you’re driving alone, avoid taking any medications that may make you drowsy; you’ll want to be as alert as possible, so you may consider drinking some coffee or another caffeinated beverage.
Lastly, if you’re unfamiliar with the route, be sure to review your driving directions and input the address into your GPS before you start driving. Distracted drivers don’t notice things as quickly and have slower reaction times.
A few other things to keep in mind, when driving at night:
• Don’t outdrive your headlights, slow down so you have enough time to stop if you need to
• Increase your distance between the car ahead of you, distance perception can be tricky in low light
• When using high beams in dark areas, switch to regular headlights going around curves just in case of oncoming traffic
• If you get tired or feel eye fatigue, pull over and rest
• Make sure you wear your glasses, if you need them
• Invest in an emergency roadside kit, just in case
Do you find driving at night is more challenging? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.