There’s no denying that late-night driving can be nerve-racking because of factors like low visibility and fatigue. Driving in the dark can be more dangerous than driving when the sun is out, and this has been proved by many European countries.
Clean Your Windshield
Something that many of us ignore is a dirty windshield. That dirty windshield seems annoying and harmless, it can however cause a blinding glare when sunlight and headlights hit it just right leaving you squinting and trying to see the road whilst driving. Dust that you might not have noticed during the day can build up on the inside of your car too, so it’s important to clean your windshield both inside and out.
Check Your Lights
Are your headlight and taillights in excellent working condition? Are they aimed properly? What about your turn light signals? You want to see and be seen without blinding other drivers, so make sure everything is aimed and working just right. It is also a good idea to turn on your lights an hour before sundown as they may help other drivers see you coming.
Don’t Look in to the Light
Try not to look directly into the lights of oncoming traffic. When cars are coming at you, do your best to focus your sight down and to the right, while focusing on the white line. This will prevent you from being temporarily blinded by their headlights, something that irritates us all.
Increase Distance and Reduce Speed
Sure, we’re all in a rush to get home, but reducing your speed and avoiding tailgating the car in front of your increases your chances to get you to your destination safe and sound. Use your headlights to help you measure your distance and stopping time. If you can’t stop within the illuminated area, it means that you’re too close!
Another way to measure your distance is by using the 3 second rule, as the vehicle in front of you passes a designated landmark along the road (a tree, a construction barrel, etc.), there should be at least a 3 second gap before you reach the same area. If it takes less than 3 seconds to catch up, it means that you should slow down!
Be Seen on the Side
If you need to pull over, be sure you’re easily and clearly seen by other drivers. Carry reflective triangles with you always, turn on your hazard lights, and even turn on your dome light in your car to increase your chances of being seen. Point to always remember: the safest place to wait for help is inside your car and not outside.
Don’t be Distracted
Whether you’re texting, fiddling with the radio, or eating in your car, taking your attention off the road is dangerous. When you’re tired after a long day at work or even driving to go into work and your tired, your reaction times will be reduced. Taking your full attention off the road is a very bad idea. You can text or eat before or after your reach your destination.
Watch for Pedestrians
Walkers and joggers don’t always wear safety gear, and they can be incredibly difficult to see after dark. Always take extra time to watch for pedestrians, especially on poorly-lit roads. If you’re at an intersection, be sure to look both ways before you make your move to ensure no one is stepping off the sidewalk.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Fatal alcohol-related accidents are four times higher at night than during the day. Don’t put yourself or others at risk by driving under the influence. Use defensive driving techniques and keep an eye out for signs of drunk driving, especially after dark. If you do suspect someone is driving drunk, keep your distance and if you can, safely call the police.