The days are getting shorter, which means it’s starting to get darker earlier and earlier. Our ability to see is reduced drastically at night, which means our reaction time also decreases. Unlike some animals, humans are diurnal, which means we are much more alert during the daylight hours. Plus, throw in the fact that you can possibly encounter drunk drivers or wildlife during the later hours; this means that when we’re faced with driving at night, we can be putting ourselves at great risk.
How to Be Safe Driving at Night
Your headlights can only help so much when you’re driving at night, as they really only illuminate a small stretch of road in front of you. Ensure that you’re being as cautious as possible driving when it is dark outside with these nighttime driving safety tips:
- Prepare your car. If you know nighttime driving is going to be in your future due to those shorter days coming, get your car ready. Clean the headlights, turn signal lights and mirrors at least once a week. Make sure your windshield isn’t hazy or dusty inside. Get your headlights adjusted or make sure they’re aiming correctly- this helps not only you, but you also can be sure you won’t be blinding other drivers on the road.
- Keep alert. Staying awake and attentive can be difficult at night, especially during a longer trip. The roads and streetlights can become mesmerizing and lull you into a bit of a daze! Avoid taking medications that might make you drowsy, and of course, you should never drink and drive. Stay sober and alert at all times and watch out for obstructions or animals in the road.
- Properly use your headlights. After your headlights have been adjusted, make sure you’re using them correctly. Use the high beams when streetlights are scarce, but turn them off when a car approaches from the opposite direction. Likewise, try not to stare at the headlights in oncoming traffic; instead, focus on the right edge of the road as a steering guide.
- Avoid distractions. One of the most important nighttime driving safety tips is to avoid distractions; put the cell phones away and don’t fiddle with your stereo or iPod when driving late at night. Set your GPS before you leave and pick out a playlist so you aren’t tempted to shuffle through songs.
- Make frequent stops. If you feel yourself getting tired, pull off the road, get out of the car and stretch your legs. Walk around, get a snack, and just get out of the car for a little while. It may take you a bit longer to get to your destination, but it’s much better to get there safe and avoid an accident!
A premier driving school like DriveTeam prepares drivers of all ages for driving safely not only during nighttime hours, but any time of the day. We offer corporate driver training and teen driving classes to ensure everyone stays as safe as possible behind the wheel. Contact us today for more information.