Enough has been said about defensive driving, but what about how to drive safely at night?
You are three times more likely to get involved in an accident at night than in the day, at least according to NHTSA.
Why are accidents more common at night than in the day? It is because we are generally less active at night. Additionally, we cannot see as clearly as we do when the roads are soaked in sunlight.
When you can’t see the road ahead of you clearly, you cannot always react in time to stop should there be an emergency. Too bright lights flashing here and there as you drive can also complicate things instead of helping you see your way.
So, how should you drive at night to? What things should you keep in mind when driving at night?
1. Speeding Is More Dangerous At Night
This should go without saying because it seems obvious, but let’s point it out for the record. Speeding is dangerous enough even in the daytime, but it becomes more dangerous at night.
Why do drivers like to speed at night? Because there are fewer vehicles on the road, so they judge the roads are safer. Again, most drivers are in a hurry to get home.
However, and as we have said, you are less activate at night. Your brain is partially locked down for the night. After all, nighttime is for rest. Other drivers along the road are also less activate. So any error you cause due to speeding can be tragic.
Similarly, the errors by other drivers can be hard to overcome if you are speeding.
2. Some Animals Walk Around At Night
You are more likely to hit a deer at night than in the day. Other animals you might encounter along the way at night are dogs, cats, moose, raccoons, opossums, and bears.
When you drive through the countryside or forests at night, you should ensure your high beams are not underutilized.
While it is recommended you dim your high beams when within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle so as not to blind the other driver and not to use them when trailing another vehicle, ensure you fully use them in an area with wildlife.
Do not swerve when you see an animal; you should slow down and stop.
3. A Flood of Headlights Can Blind You
Ironically, light is part of the problem at night, so it’s not all about the darkness. If you stare directly at the oncoming headlights, you will be blinded.
Therefore, shift your gaze down and to the right. Never lose sight of the lane markings when passing the oncoming vehicle. This will help you avoid the headlights.
But while at it, keep turning your eyes so that you do not focus on one area.
4. Dirty Headlights and Windshield = Dirty View
A dirty windshield may not be an issue during the day. But visibility is highly reduced at night; your eyes have a difficult time distinguishing colors. So you should ensure you maximize your ability to see what is ahead of you.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see clearly if your windshield is damaged or dirty because it will scatter light in either case.
Damaged or dirty headlights will also make it hard for you to see the oncoming vehicles.
You should clean your windshield and headlights regularly, but especially when about to drive through the night.
While at it, aim your headlights correctly.
5. Fatigue Is Ever There Looking For an Opportunity
We have explained that many drivers on the road at night are not as active as they are in the day. Fatigue steals in on everyone at night.
It would be best if you never forgot that fatigue is ever looking for an opportunity to shut you down for the night.
What should you do to combat fatigue when driving at night? Take a caffeine drink. If it is a long journey, also consider pulling over to rest. Close your eyes and give the body the rest it needs, even if for an hour, before resuming your travel.
Some drivers also turn the radio on and listen to a favorite program to help reduce fatigue. Make sure it never becomes a distraction. Rolling down the windows for a while for fresh air will also help you fight fatigue as you drive at night.
6. Poor Eyesight Is Less Safer At Night
You may get away with poor eyesight when driving in the day, but it is not easy at night.
Your clean windshield and well-positioned headlights are of little help if you have vision problems. You may not realize you have vision problems until it’s too late, so have your eyes checked once in a while.
According to American Optometric, you should have an annual eye check if you are over 60. If you are under 40, it should be every three years.
If you are above 40 but below 60, have them checked every two years.
7. Avoid Distractions
Distractions are bad enough even in the day, but they are worse at night. Do not be texting, dining, or fiddling with the radio now and then while driving at night.
Remember, anything that takes your attention away from the road is a distraction, so even getting lost in thought can be a hazard.
8. Driving While Drunk Is More Dangerous At Night
Did you know that you are four times more likely to cause an accident at night than during the day if you are drunk? In fact, most alcohol-related accidents happen at night.
You should not drink and drive at any time, but remember it is riskier at night.
Well, you may be sober when driving at night, but that does not mean all the drivers are. That’s another reason you should be keener at night.
There are techniques you can use to help identify drunk drivers so that you keep your distance.
Wrapping it up
We believe the above points are amongst the most crucial things to keep in mind when driving at night. Remember, it’s all about your and other road users’ safety.
Are you a good driver? Should you take a refresher course? Or are you planning to learn how to drive for the first time? We urge you to join Pierre Paul Driving School in Brooklyn, New York.