How to Safely Drive at Night
How to Safely Drive at Night
Do you get scared when you have to drive at night? Plenty of others do.
It’s mostly because we can’t see well at night. Coupled with those night road stories we have heard, scenes we have watched or witnessed. And a vast majority of those stories and scenes are true. Night driving is comparably more dangerous than day driving.
This guide will provide you with safety tips you can use to stay safe on the road before and while driving at night.
The difference between driving at nighttime and during the day is visibility. Whether you are driving through a route with proper lighting at night, it won’t be as bright and visible as in the daytime. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the likelihood of you being involved in a fatal accident at night is three times more compared to during the day. While we may decide never to drive at night, situations may arise that require us to do so.
Before you embark on your drive, you can engage in these preventive measures. They are succinct, yet they will ensure your night drive is less risky and smooth. Here are some safety tips to follow before setting out on your journey.
Check Your Lights
Your vehicle’s light is one of the most important aspects to take note of before driving at night. It allows you to see the roadway in the dark; at the same time, it signals other motorists that a car is coming.
The vehicle’s light serves as your guide while driving through the road at night. This is why it’s very important to make sure all your lights are working and clean. When checking your light, start with the exterior lights such as your headlight, tail light, fog light, hazard light, etc.
If you are driving at night for the first time, or it’s a common practice to you, it’s a crucial safety precaution to make sure your lights are functioning properly. If you have a passenger, step out of the vehicle to observe if the lights are working fine. If not, park with your rear lights facing a window or other reflective surface. Put on the light and check the reflection to see if all your lights are working correctly.
You should also practice how to aim your headlights so that it doesn’t blind other motorists coming. And if you are the one on that spot, it’s advisable to slow down and pull over. This is to avoid a collision between both vehicles. Dim your headlights when another vehicle is approaching and only use your high beam when it is necessary. Always confirm your headlights are bright as normal during an inspection. It is recommended that you clean the headlights and taillights of your vehicle.
Clean your Windshield
Your windshield can either worsen or improve the visibility problem of driving at night. If your windshield is clean, it will increase your nighttime visibility. Hence, improving your safety while driving at night.
A dirty or cracked windshield may cause glare. Also, ensure you clean the mirrors and glass surfaces in your vehicle. Thoroughly clean the glass surfaces inside and out to improve your night vision. Clean the wiper blades using a clean microfiber towel. If you notice any damage to your windshield or its components, have it repaired or replaced immediately.
Take Your Car In For Maintenance
Regular vehicle maintenance ensures your vehicle operates smoothly and improves your safety. Take your car to a professional mechanic to have it checked. This includes checking the condition of your tires, engine oil, brake fluids, transmission fluid, and filters. Make sure your car is in good condition, inspecting other fluid levels and refilling if necessary, battery check, replacing windshield wiper blades, etc. Great vehicle maintenance guarantees your vehicle performs at its best while on the road.
You can reduce the risk of night driving when you get behind the wheel by employing defensive driving techniques and following these simple tips.
Watch Your Speed
It may be difficult to see what’s ahead of you while driving at night, even with your headlights on. There may be a person or animal on the side of the road or an oncoming speeding car. It is always best to adjust the speed of your vehicle to avoid a terrible situation. Speeding while driving at night is dangerous because it reduces your reaction time for pedestrians, wildlife, or anything on the road. Your vehicle shouldn’t go beyond the distance your headlights show to be visible.
Always stay alert and keep your eye on the road. Falling asleep when driving can put you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk. Before hitting the road, try to get enough sleep or drive with a companion so you both can take turns. And if you start feeling sleepy while driving, drink caffeine, take a break to shake it off, or stop for the night and find somewhere safe, preferably a hotel, to take a rest.
Use High Beams When Appropriate
High beam lights increase your visibility at night. On the flip side, it can be unsafe to use in certain situations. It is only appropriate to use when there is low visibility and when traffic is light. Although it can improve your visibility, high beam lights can reduce the visibility of vehicles in front or oncoming vehicles. For safe use, your distance from any vehicle in front or advancing vehicle should be at least 200m. Again, high beams should only be employed when the weather is fair. When used contrary to these conditions, it may lead to blinding another driver or worsen the visible problem. And either one of these situations can be catastrophic and unsafe for both drivers.
Although you cannot predict what happens, you can certainly do your part to stay safe. Following the precautionary measures above will help you stay safe while driving at night. When driving at night, always employ defensive driving techniques. Do the essential vehicle maintenance before the trip, check your light, make sure your windshield is clean, limit your speed, stay awake and stay alert.