While the majority of driving is done during the daylight hours, at night, car-related collisions are three times more likely to occur than during the day (NHTSA). At night, drivers’ vision and ability to decipher color and depth are much lower than during the daylight hours. In addition, drivers tend to be more tired during the nighttime hours which results in slower reaction times and higher risks of collisions.
As the summer season is quickly approaching and more drivers will be going on road trips and driving more at night, the following are a few important tips to ensure your drive at night gets you to your destination safely and reduce the risk of collision repairs.
Ensure that your windshield, mirrors, and headlights are Clean
Your headlights are the most important aspect of your vehicle when driving at night. If they are not working well or are dirty, this can significantly increase your chances of getting into a serious accident. Ensure you clean them or replace the bulbs if they are burnt out before driving at night.
It’s important to clean your windshield before you drive a long distance at night. Windshields that may appear clean to you during the day may in fact contain streaks that may be a hazard for you as it can cause glares at night. Also, switching your inside rear-view mirror to the night or auto-dim setting can also avoid glare at night.
Turn Your Headlights On Earlier
If you notice that it’s getting darker, it’s better to be safer than sorry by turning your headlights on. Even though you may not need them to see the road, you will make it easier for other drivers to see you, which will make you safer.
Avoid Staring at Oncoming Headlights
During nighttime driving your eyes get accustomed to the dark roadway and the dim glow of the dashboard. When a bright incoming light approaches you (a bright road sign or headlights), it can easily disrupt you without realizing it and can lead to a collision.
Slow Down and Keep Your Distance
In general, nighttime driving is more hazardous than daytime driving. Therefore, you should slow down and give yourself more distance from other vehicles than you would during the day.
Watch for Animals
Animals crossing the road at night are one of the most common reasons for collisions while driving at night (especially on the highway). Be sure to take notice of animal crossing signs while driving at night and be sure to reduce your speed accordingly when you see these signs.
If all the appropriate precautions are followed, driving at night can be a calm and wonderful experience and should not be feared. So enjoy your night drive and stay safe!