We all drive at night, whether we are going out for dinner, visiting family, driving home from work, on a road trip vacation and more. However, driving at night is the most dangerous time to drive, regardless of weather conditions, or areas. Driving at night presents very different challenges from driving during the day.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle death rates at night are three times higher than during the day. This is especially alarming since fewer drivers occupy the roads at night. So, if you're going to be driving at night, here are 7 tips to help keep you safe:
- Slow down: Night driving typically requires slower speeds than daytime driving. Since visibility is much lower at night, it takes longer to see and react to road hazards, pedestrians, and other obstacles. You can't control other hazards on the road, but you can control your driving.
- Make sure your headlights are properly positioned: You may not realize this, it’s important that you adjust your headlights so they're pointing in the right direction. Poorly aimed headlights can blind oncoming drivers, cause reflections that distort your view of the road and make it harder to see in rain or snow. If you think you may need to readjust your headlights, always read the instructions in your owner's manual. Be patient. It may take a few tries before you get it right.
- When in doubt, turn your lights on: As the day slowly turns to night, there's usually an hour or two when some cars will be using their headlights and others won't. If you're not sure whether it's time to turn on your headlights, turn them on anyway. It's always a good idea to turn your headlights on if you notice the sky is becoming darker. Even though you may not need your headlights during this time, it will make it easier for other drivers to see you.
- Don't stare at oncoming lights: When you're driving at night, your eyes are used to the dim glow of your dashboard and the dark road ahead. Bright lights can disrupt your concentration at night and cause your vision to become blurry. If you see a car coming in your direction, don't look directly into its headlights. Instead, use the white lines on the side of the road to help guide you. Additionally, if the car behind you has its high beams and the lights are blinding you in your mirrors, adjust your rearview mirror to get the reflection out of your eyes.
- Keep your eyes moving: "Spacing out" is a common problem for people driving at night. To stay focused, always keep your eyes forward when you're driving. Scan the road ahead of you to look for potential hazards, and occasionally check your mirrors to help you stay aware of your surroundings. Resist the urge to simply stare at the middle of the road. Not only does this not give you a good idea of your surroundings but it can "hypnotize" you and reduce your state of awareness.
- Leave enough space between your car and the vehicle in front of you: When driving at night, always leave enough space between you and the driver in front of you. Giving yourself enough space will make it easier for you to spot potential hazards, and will give you extra time to react if needed.
- Follow all normal daytime precautions: This should go without saying, but it's important that you follow all daytime safety precautions when driving at night. Make sure you wear your seatbelt, adjust your seat accordingly, adjust your mirrors to give you a complete view of the road behind you, put your cellphone away, avoid driving under the influence, and always focus on the road when you're behind the wheel. Following these simple precautions will make you a safer driver both during the day and at night.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of someone else - don't delay. Contact the Dellutri Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation! Call us at (800) 391-4337. You can also request a Free Consultation online. Our team of dedicated attorneys and staff are here to help!