Heading out for a long drive after the sun went down? Or is nighttime driving a part of your routine or your work? Government data on traffic safety puts the number of road fatalities in the night to triple than in the day, so drivers need extra precautions when driving when it’s dark out.
Nighttime driving, especially along the highways, spells a lot of difference than usual daytime driving. There is the amount of light, some surprise wildlife encounters, and your health and condition come into play too.
You can do more than just reducing your speed when traveling at night. Here are tips you should know before you get behind the wheel.
Dim Your Dash Lights
Newer cars offer plenty of accessories on your dashboard. If you’re heading out at night, it is best to lower the brightness of your dashboard as this will also lessen the distractions while driving. Dimmer dashboard lights will also help remove reflections on your windshield.
This will also help your eyes adjust better to the darkness of the road.
Check Your Lights
Before you drive, check all the lights of your vehicle, including brake lights, daytime running lights, low beams, turn lights and high beams. Check the brightness of your headlights to make sure they are visible while on the road. This will prove crucial also in driving in bad weather such as when there is a hail storm, or it is snowing.
Adding auxiliary light will not hurt too, especially if nighttime driving for you is part of your work or your routine. For trucks, there are LED lights bars that you may consider. These will help to alert other vehicles of your presence, especially if your vehicle is dark-colored.
Get adequate rest and sleep
Nothing beats having an alert person behind the wheel. Make sure you have had adequate hours of sleep or rest before starting your drive. Load up on caffeine if you can and pull over and take quick rests at safe places if you must.
You can also try to keep yourself awake by turning on your radio or rolling down the windows now and then to let fresh air in.
Wipe your windshield and mirrors
Damaged windshields will not only obscure your vision but may also scatter light. After checking your windshield for any damage, use the newspaper to polish the glass. There are windshields that look clean during the daytime, but will show streaks and cause glare at night. Cleaning them with newspaper to wipe off residue will do the trick.
Keep your hands away from the insides of your windshield, mirrors, and side windows because the oil in your fingers will leave a smear and light will glare from these. Use a microfiber cloth when cleaning these.
Prepare for sudden wildlife crossing
Incidents of deer collision increase during the period of October to January. When you spot them, do not panic and swerve, but slow down or stop driving.
Keep your eyes healthy
Keep in mind that aging also affects your eyes. As you get old, your eyes will need more light to see. It will help to undergo annual vision exams. If you are taking some prescription drugs, check with your doctor if it will affect your fatigue or your vision too.
You can’t avoid driving at night because of certain circumstances. But preparedness and responsible driving would keep you safe while on the road.