Safe driving at night should be on everyone’s minds. The nights are growing longer. Most of us will do more driving in darkness. Night driving presents unique challenges and risks for drivers. Our risk of involvement in a fatal accident at night is triple the risk in the daytime. Weekend nights are the most dangerous times for fatal crashes. We offer here our 18 tips for safe driving at night.
Night Driving Dangers
Among the dangers of night driving are:
- Reduced vision. Your depth perception, peripheral vision, and color recognition will be diminished. If you are aged 50 or over, you need twice as much light to see as well as a 30-year-old driver. The reduced vision will also affect your reaction time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “You see less of the road ahead of you and have less room and time to stop.”
- Driving Drowsy diminishes your concentration and further reduces your reaction time.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs dulls your senses, reduces your reaction time, and affects your thought processes. Thirty-two percent of car crashes that occur at night involve at least one driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Tips for Safe Driving at Night
- Ensure that windows, headlights, taillights, and signal lights are clean.
- Have your headlights checked to confirm that they are properly aimed (do this with a new vehicle, too).
- Turn headlights on when it begins to get dark.
- Dim the dashboard lights and instrument panel lights. This will reduce reflected glare in the windows and reduce distraction.
- Use all of your defensive driving skills.
- Do not use high beams when approaching or following another vehicle.
- Adjust your speed so that you can brake to a complete stop within the area lighted by your headlights.
- Reduce your driving speed and increase your following distance.
- If you are being blinded by the headlights of oncoming vehicles, use the right edge of the road as your steering guide.
- Avoid two-lane highways. The glare of oncoming cars’ headlights, less light, and the hills and sharp curves of these roads make them more dangerous at night.
- Adjust your rearview mirror to eliminate bright reflections from cars following you.
- Be alert to indications of headlights on the road ahead. This light might help you to anticipate sharp curves or hills ahead.
- Wear glasses with anti-reflective lenses (whether you need corrective lenses or not).
- Keep moving your eyes and do not focus on any single area. This will help to prevent boredom and drowsiness.
- Stop from time to time for a light snack, exercise, or a nap. This will help you to remain alert.
- Watch for wildlife (particularly deer) that might run in front of your vehicle. If you see a reflection that could be the eyes of an animal, slow down first and then investigate.
- Never drink or use drugs when driving.
- Minimize all distractions – even conversations with others in your vehicle.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident or truck accident, you may be entitled to recover financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Call Altizer Law, P.C., a top auto accident attorney in Roanoke, VA. Bettina Altizer and her team have been helping people who have been injured through no fault of their own for more than 30 years. Accidents disrupt our lives and serious injuries can be life-changing. We understand that when discussing a financial settlement, it’s about the money.