Have you ever driven at night? Then you must have realized that it’s not the same as driving during the day. Although automobiles come with headlights to help us see clearly during the night, our human eyes still fail us because they got not built for the night. It is the reason why driving at night has gotten known to be dangerous and dreadful. According to a survey by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents – ROSPA, 40% of collisions happen at night. But you need not fret; there are measures you could take to help you stay safe while you drive at night. Continue reading for insight.
10 Essential Tips for Safe Driving at Night
Avoid Getting Close to the Vehicle In Front
Many a time, you may find yourself driving too close to the vehicle in front, even at night. Driving so near to the car before you get known as tailgating. It is ordinary with most drivers and especially the aggressive ones or those in a rush. Often, they fail to keep the right distance from the next car, and it can get dangerous. For example, if the vehicle behind applies emergency breaks, the automobile behind crushing on is inevitable.
During the night, drivers tend to have a slower reaction. It is, therefore, advisable that you always keep a safe distance from the car in front of you while driving at night. In doing so, you shall have enough time to respond to the reaction of the automobile before you. As a result, you get to avoid a collision or accident.
Also, when you keep a safe distance from the vehicle before you, the driver feels comfortable as you don’t pressure him. Has a car ever driven too close to you from behind? If so, then you must be aware that the situation is uncomfortable. It is even worse at night because the car’s headlights may cause your mirrors to glare, making you unable to see clearly through the mirrors.
The situation causes a massive distraction to the driver of the car in front. As a result, even as a great driver, you may find yourself making quick and unnecessary decisions. Some of the choices you make may not be the wise ones. As a driver, like any other driver, you wouldn’t want to deal with poor visibility at night. You should, therefore, avoid driving too near to the car in front of you because it can hamper the driver’s visibility severely.
If you drive further back from the car before you, it improves your visibility and vision at night. You get to see any distractions on the road like potholes and debris. But if driving close to the car before you, it’s not easy to spot such distractions and can easily damage your vehicle or cause an accident.
Regular car maintenance prevents your car from malfunctioning unexpectedly. You wouldn’t want your car to have failed brakes or malfunction on a busy highway. It is a recipe for disaster! Ensure that you take your automobile for regular general maintenance. If you want to take a ride at night, ensure that all your mirrors are clear for a clear vision. Each country has its automobiles’ headlights direct in a specific direction. Make sure that your car’s headlight points in the right direction based on your country’s rule. Also, ensure that they are fully functioning before you drive off at night hours.
Most drivers think that it’s okay to drive at night with one headlight but are wrong. First, the light may fail to function, and that means that you are in total darkness! If you can’t see well at night, it’s easy to crush on other vehicles or things on the road. Also, you easily can stray from the path and have an accident. But the advantage of driving at night with both headlights functioning is that you not only enjoy enough lighting while driving but also supply it to the other motorists near you. As a result, you all enjoy clear visibility.
Also, in case one of your headlights blows off at night, the other one can serve you until you reach your destination safely. If driving in the cold season, ensure that your car has fog headlights and in good order. All your car rear and front lights should be in good condition and fully functioning before you start your journey at night.
Using Your Headlights Correctly
Headlights in your car are useful during both day and night. But are entirely in use during the night. It gets recommended that you can put on your car’s headlights 60 minutes before the dusk or sun goes down. You may ask why, but it’s for your benefit. You get to see things clearly before the sun falls. Also, you will enhance other drivers to see clearly, meaning that you create an accident-free road. No cars, including yours, can collide nor hit something or pedestrians because the vision is clear.
Also, ensure that your brake lights are working. You wouldn’t want to slow down without alerting the driver behind you, especially if at high speed. It could be the last day that you and the driver behind you see the light of dawn. When your rear headlights function correctly, they prevent many accidents because the driver behind you gets to know your intention and responds to your actions on time.
Your indicator lights should function properly at all times. Let the driver behind you know that you want to divert either left or right by putting on the right indicator. If you redirect without indicating or using the wrong sign, you may cause a significant accident. The driver behind you may continue driving without slowing down, or take on the side you are diverting, and crush on your car’s behind. Unfortunately, if there were other cars back, they may also come crushing on each other. In the end, you shall have caused a mega accident on the road where other things and pedestrians could have gotten injured.
Always Be Alert
A lot of things happen at night. You could come across drunk drivers or animals active at night loitering around the road. Also, you could be driving at night during the hours you usually sleep. As a result, you may get sleepy. The day could have been busy, and you may feel tired or experience fatigue while driving during the night. When driving on a new road, it could get tricky because you are not aware of what lies ahead. It is, therefore, advisable to be of a sound mind and very alert while driving at night. Drive at a moderate speed and look out for the road signs.
On roads that drivers are familiar with, they tend to fall into an automatic zombie-like pilot state, a real deal in causing accidents. You shouldn’t get reluctant just because you’ve used the road a hundred times and know it like the palm of your hand. Anything could happen. Always be alert and adhere to the road safety training basics you received. Always use your mirrors and look out for anything moving like pedestrians, other traffic, and cyclists. Also, check out for any distractions. As a result, you will react to issues on time and avoid mistakes that other drivers get to make at night.
Check Your Speed
During the night, most roads contain few motorists and are a bit quiet. As a result, many drivers get tempted to drive faster than usual. But this shouldn’t be the case. Drivers should drive slower than usual during the night. Unlike during the day, vision is terrible at night, and drivers may not spot an issue on time. It’s the reason why drivers should drive further away from the vehicle in front of them compared to during the day. In this regard, they get able to react on time to anything happening on the road.
While driving at a low speed at night, evading distractions and accidents is easy because you can easily control your car. You, therefore, make not only yourself but also other road users like pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers safe. Strange occurrences are inevitable on our roads at night. You might find a cyclist without a reflector or a pedestrian straying from the sidewalk with no notice. While at low speed, you get to evade hitting them with no hustle.
Avoid Driving While Tired
Because of your busy schedules during the day, being tired is inevitable. Unfortunately, tiredness makes us less active and alert. Also, when you are tired, you tend to feel sleepy quickly during the night. Have you ever driven at night while tired? Then you are aware that it can be a struggle. If driving at night, you get advised to do so while alert and not wasted. Avoid chores that will burden your mind’s and body’s energy away. Though driving at night is much faster and more peaceful due to the less traffic and the road being quieter, it is crucial to consider the risks involved while driving tired.
Most drivers who collide do so due to sleeping while driving at night. Tiredness causes the driver to sleep and is fatal both day and night. Try taking off early before the night like after a rush hour if driving for a long distance. Starting the journey before the sun sets allows the driver’s mind, body, and eyes to adjust quickly from the light to the dark settings. As a result, you get to drive comfortably. If you feel tired while driving at night, take a break. Stop in a safe place like in a hotel or service station. If need be, book a room and sleepover to continue the journey the following morning when fresh and active.
Ensure your Windows are Functioning Properly and Well Maintained
Before you embark on your ride at night, ensure that your car’s windows are clean and functioning well. Dirty windows blur your vision and can be hazardous driving during the night and day. With stained car windows, making even the slightest mistake is inevitable. Spotting distractions on the road is not easy, while you can easily crush or hit on other vehicles quickly. Dirty windows also steam up speedily and distract your vision even further.
Besides, you get to deal with cleaning the steam while driving. Causing an accident is inevitable because of your attention while driving. It gets divided when you start clearing the steam. As a result, you may find yourself very uncomfortable while driving and decide to take a stopover to clean the mess on your windows. In doing so, you get to waste time you could have used on the road.
Also, malfunctioning windows are dangerous at night. Image having valuables in your car but the windows can’t close. Evil people like thieves and muggers operate at night. They could easily steal your valuables through the open windows. Someone can also throw in something that could hit you. In times of bad weather like, while raining, snowing, windy, or cold, you may even get sick when driving with open windows.
Sometimes the environment in the car could get uncomfortably warm and would require some cold air. Also, there could be a foul smell that needs to get out. If your car’s windows can’t open, you can imagine the discomfort. Sort out all issues of your car windows before you drive at night.
Adjust Your Mirrors
Adjusting a mirror may seem like a small tip, but it makes a massive difference while driving both at night and day. During the day, your mirrors are okay with the daylight. But at night, the story is different. Your car’s mirrors reflect light, either from other traffic’s headlights or street lights. As a result, from behind, the light shines into your eyes and distracts your vision. In this state, causing an accident is like a downhill task. To avoid your car’s mirrors from reflecting light at night, try tilting your mirrors. Changing the angles of your car mirrors before taking off at night will prevent you from being dazzled or blinded by light while you drive.
Also, avoid looking directly into other vehicles’ headlights at night. You can get blinded temporarily, and your eyes fail to adjust soon enough to see what’s happening around you. Unfortunately, within this state, you can damage other cars or run into an accident. Always regard safety first and deem your lights when you see an oncoming vehicle.
Use the Right Glasses
Are you a driver and have a visual impairment? Then you must be aware of how challenging it is to drive at night. But just because you suffer from bad eyesight doesn’t mean that you are a terrible driver. You only need the right driving glasses. For those drivers with visual impairment, it is a legal requirement that they use contacts or glasses while driving. But wearing glasses is no issue; what’s important is wearing the correct glasses depending on your eye condition while driving. The proper driving glasses offer drivers an unobstructed 180 degrees forward view.
Glasses that require frequent adjustment to maintain a clear view or the wrong option glasses can be a ticket to disaster for the night-time driver. Other than distracting your vision, their glare compared to the oncoming traffic is worse. The best driving glasses to wear while driving at night are those with anti-glare protection. Some drivers get deceived into thinking that tinted glasses are perfect to wear while driving at night. Unfortunately, though they decrease the glare, they come with a low light intensity that affects your cornea’s perception of any image. As a result, you get partially blinded. Try getting a cab or having another driver take over if you doubt your visual ability during the night.
While driving, you may feel hungry or thirsty and decide to take on a snack or drink. You may also get an urgent call and choose to pick it up. Though all appear normal and simple things to do while driving, they can be distractions that can make a driver cause an accident, especially at night. Specific incidences on the road or along the roadside may steal a driver’s attention too long to cause an accident. It’s essential to have self-control and discipline while driving at night.
If you have to take a call, look for a safe place and stop to pick it up. Maybe you hadn’t eaten for a long time, and you have to take a snack or drink something. Fine, but take a break in an eating joint or a safe stopover and eat and drink to your fill. Avoid staring at things or incidents for too long while driving at night. If you have a baby on board, carry along someone to help you check on the baby. Also, avoid looking behind countlessly. Your alertness may get altered, and you may find yourself in a ditch or having hit another traffic, pedestrian, or cyclist. Focus is always a priority while driving at night.
Though safe driving at night gets affected by many factors, the driver is the primary determinant. Some causes that affect road safety may be beyond them, but as explained above, the driver plays a significant role in ensuring safe driving at night. If you drive at night, the tips described above will help you drive safely during the night. Road accidents have claimed millions of people all over the world. Even the smallest preventive measure plays a significant role in preventing accidents on our roads. As a night driver, you should take safety precautions. If you have no idea of what to do, use the above explained safe night-driving factors as your starting point.