The joys of fall and winter include going to pumpkin patches, seeing family and friends for holidays, skiing, sitting by a warm fire and more; however, these seasons also bring longer nights which means increased risk on the roads.
Many drivers aren’t aware of the challenges of driving in the dark and with longer nighttime hours ahead, it is a good time to touch up on some safety tips for evening drives.
Sometimes, there's no way around driving at night. So here are some suggestions to help you make a safe trip-- whether you're just running to the store or you're headed to another city.
- Make certain your car's lights are in good working condition. Not only your headlights but turn signals, taillights, etc. Also, if there are no other drivers around, use your high-beam lights to allow yourself to see better and farther while driving.
- Avoid speeding. Leave a bigger gap between you and other cars than you would during daytime hours. Also, leave yourself even more time for the trip so you don’t need to speed to arrive at your destination on time.
- Eliminate distractions. You shouldn't be on your phone, messing around with the radio or searching for something while you're on the road anyway. Distractions are a lot more dangerous at night.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to the road as you drive and always be on the lookout for wildlife. You should also be aware of other drivers and keep your distance, especially if their driving looks suspicious. Nighttime is when you are most likely to encounter a driver under the influence.
Data shows that nighttime driving has an increased risk of fatalities, so slow your driving at night and take your time.
Nobody likes to be lectured on safe driving, but understanding what causes nighttime driving to be more dangerous can help you eliminate risks.
What you need to understand about driving at night:
- Your vision is reduced. Many drivers complain about decreased vision at nighttime. This can be due to a foggy windshield, poor windshield wipers or simply the fact that our eyes don’t work as well at nighttime. In fact, peripheral vision is greatly reduced in the dark and having a good peripheral vision is paramount to lane changes, crosswalks and unprotected intersections.
- Speeds too fast for conditions. Did you know that you can drive too fast for your headlights? This means that your headlights can only illuminate so much of the road ahead of you. Driving at night greatly increase your chances of animal collisions because you are simply traveling too fast to slow your vehicle when an animal is in the roadway. When appropriate, slow your vehicle speed by 10-15% at night to give yourself great reactionary times to things like wildlife in the roadway.
- Impairment. The holidays and darker days increases consumption of alcohol and drunk drivers. Because alcohol can decrease your good judgement, it is a good idea to consider using rideshare drivers. A simple Uber or Lyft ride can save you thousands, not to mention your life or the lives of others.
- If you are feeling drowsy or fatigued, immediately find a place where you can either rest and wake up, or if you have another eligible driver in your car, trade places with them.
Many drivers avoid driving at night altogether. Especially as we get older our confidence and reaction time decreases. If you have any more questions about driving at night or want to discuss your auto insurance policy, feel free to give our agency a call today.