Driving at night can be a challenge for even the most experienced drivers. Not only is visibility reduced, but there are also more hazards on the road that can cause accidents. According to the National Safety Council, almost half of all traffic fatalities occur during nighttime hours, despite the fact that only a quarter of driving is done at night. As a driver, knowing how to handle your vehicle when driving in the dark is important. In this blog post, we will provide you with some valuable tips to keep you safe while driving at night.
Clean Your Car’s Windshield and Headlights
Before you hit the road, ensure your windshield and headlights are clean. Dirty windshields and headlights can reduce the amount of light that reaches the road, impairing your vision. As a Texan, you know all too well how quickly bugs, dirt, and dust accumulate on your windshield. Cleaning your car’s windshield and headlights can significantly improve your visibility and reduce the risk of accidents.
Adjust Your Speed
When driving at night, it’s important to slow down and adjust your speed. Even on well-lit roads, it can be difficult to see pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles in the dark. Slowing down can give you more time to react to unexpected situations on the road and help you avoid accidents.
Stay Alert and Avoid Distractions
Driving at night involves more risks than driving during the day. It’s important to stay alert, avoid distractions, and be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for unexpected obstacles, such as wildlife and livestock, that might be crossing the road. Avoid using your phone while driving, even if it’s hands-free. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road.
Use Your Headlights Properly
Headlights are critical for visibility when driving at night. However, it is important to use them properly. Use your high beams only in open areas such as highways or rural areas. Keep your headlights on low beams when driving in urban areas or when approaching another vehicle to avoid blinding other drivers. If you are unsure when to use high and low beams, refer to your owner’s manual.
Avoid Two-Lane Highways When Possible
Two-lane highways can pose additional risks when driving at night. The close proximity of oncoming traffic and the narrower lanes increase the likelihood of a collision. The headlights of the oncoming vehicles can also cause temporary blindness (also known as glare), making it difficult to see the road ahead. Therefore, whenever possible, it is recommended to avoid two-lane highways and opt for another route.
Plan Your Route and Take Regular Breaks
Night driving can be tiring, especially on long drives. Plan your routes carefully, and try to avoid driving at night. Take regular breaks, especially on long trips, and if you feel tired, pull over and take a nap or switch drivers. Fatigue is a major contributor to accidents on the road, and the best way to avoid it is by getting adequate rest.
Turn Off Interior Lights
Another important safety measure to consider while driving at night is to turn off any lights inside your car. This may seem counterintuitive, but interior lights can decrease your visibility by causing reflections on the windshield and windows. These reflections can distract you and make it harder to see the road, other vehicles, and potential hazards. For the same reason, try to dim your dashboard lights as well – most cars have an adjustable control for this purpose. Remember, safety should always come first when driving, especially at night.
As a driver, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved in night driving and take proper precautions. By following the tips provided above, you can drive safely at night while reducing the risk of accidents. Remember, driving is a privilege that comes with great responsibility. Stay safe on the road, and take care of yourself and others around you!