Many drivers love the thought of a mind clearing and peaceful night drive. The roads are a little emptier and oftentimes, drivers tend to relax a bit more behind the wheel. This can unfortunately be a costly error as there are many fatal car accidents and collisions that take place after the sun set.
The most common reason why is simply because most drivers aren’t aware of the differences that darkness can make driving at night. Even the most routine driving situations can be made harder at nighttime.
There are a lot of reasons why nighttime makes driving harder and one of the biggest ones is because what we see and how we see it is drastically different from day to night. After the sun goes down we become dependent solely on light from stoplights, streetlights, headlights and whatever other light the gas stations and stores we pass can possibly provide. In the nighttime we’re also way more sensitive to bright lights in the form of headlights coming from oncoming vehicles as well as other distractions on and off the road.
There are a lot of ways you can be safer when driving at night and to do your part to make the roads safer for other drivers too. Here are some of the most effective ways to reduce the dangers of driving at night.
Before going anywhere new at night, try and study maps or written directions as much as possible. With so much new technology inside vehicles and the ability of smartphones to act as GPS devices, it’s easier than ever to get precise directions and even voice guidance to help you navigate the roads with confidence.
Clean Your Windshield
Make sure your car windshield and all your windows are clean and free of any scratches or cracks. They should also never have fog or frost or steam clouding them so be certain to check that your windshield wipers and defrosters are working properly.
When riding with a passenger, take the opportunity to use them as extra eyes on the road, looking for road signs, hazards and more unpredictable things like pedestrians, crossing animals and slower moving vehicles. When your own eyes start getting heavy, especially on longer drives, be sure to keep them moving by looking side to side or near to far ahead.
Use Your Lights
Before you go on any drives, be sure to check your lights to make sure they’re all fully operational. If you drive with a headlight out, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb for police officers on the road, avoid the risk of getting a ticket and wait to drive until your lights are all working properly. Once they are, be sure to actually use them. Parking lights are used only for parking; they’re far too dim to be effective out on the roads. Taillights and a license plate light are also legally required to operate any motor vehicle after dark. You must always have your headlights on when driving from sunset to sunrise or driving through rain, snow, hail, fog, sleet and when you can’t see the road at least 500 feet ahead of you. If you’re unsure if you should use your headlights, then you probably should use them just in case. Even just on low, they will improve your vision and make you more easily visible to other drivers.
Glares will seriously affect your ability to see clearly and a lot of the time it can even cause a temporary blindness. After dark the glares you’ll get will mostly be from oncoming headlights or headlights from vehicles behind you shining in your rear-view mirror. It’s important to keep safe distances when driving with your headlights on to avoid causing and receiving any glares.
Take Your Time
Because of the decreased visibility at nighttime, driving fast is far more dangerous as you can only see as far as your headlights will shine. When driving fast you have less time to react or distance to stop when something suddenly comes up on the road. Maintaining a constant speed is a good way to keep safe distances from other vehicles and following highway speed limit signs will always help to keep you safe as well as free from tickets.
Nighttime driving has more hazards than daytime driving even though there are fewer cars on the road, but by following these simple steps, you reduce your risk of being involved in a traffic collision. For any further questions or to schedule an appointment to fix your windshield or headlights, visit baydiagnostic.com or call us at 718-615-0705.