Too many accidents happen at night because of careless driving, not planning ahead, tired drivers, and those who are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Senior drivers, especially, may find that night driving strains their vision and causes problems. When it’s raining or there is construction, everything is made even worse.
It’s important to be a conscientious driver on the road at all times and to be especially diligent at night. Here are some steps you can take to ensure this.
Make Night Driving Safer
- Turn on your headlights whenever it’s dark.
Headlights on your vehicle should go on as soon as it begins to get dark in the evening. You should not turn them off again until it is fully light outside in the morning.
- Check your headlights’ functionality.
Make sure your headlights are working. Many people drive with one headlight that is out, but they don’t realize it until someone points it out to them. If you don’t have a friend or family member to check your headlights regularly for you, turn on your car and your lights, keep the vehicle in park in a parking lot or driveway, and get out of the vehicle (leaving the driver’s side door open) to check your lights.
- Clean your headlights.
Make sure your headlights are clean as well. Sometimes it takes just a quick scrub to reduce cloudiness and increase efficacy.
As a side note, making sure all mirrors and windows are clean as well can be helpful for night driving.
- Don’t dazzle drivers with your headlights.
Make sure you take full advantage of your brights when you are in rural areas where there are few other cars. Brights can help you see better and further.
At the same time, when an oncoming car approaches, always turn off your brights (leaving your regular lights on) so as not to dazzle the oncoming car and obscure the other driver’s vision.
- Watch out for other drivers who may be tired or impaired.
Keep a lookout for other drivers on the road who may be overly tired at night. Of course, you need to be aware of your own level of fatigue as well, but part of being safe when driving at night is driving defensively to avoid a collision with someone who isn’t functioning at hundred percent at the wheel.
- Improve your night vision by dimming dash lights.
Reflections caused by dash lights that are too bright can cause obscured night vision for you as the driver. If you are afraid to completely turn down your dash lights because you need to continue looking at the speedometer and other dials, at least dim them slightly.
- Reduce your speed and increase your distance between other cars.
When you’re driving during the day, you can see obstacles in the road or problems up ahead quite easily. However, in the dark, you’re basically only aware of the area that your headlights can light up.
This naturally means that if something were to block your path further ahead, something were to jump out of the woods, or the car ahead of you were to stop suddenly, you wouldn’t have much time to react. For this reason, it is critical that you slow down whenever you are driving at night and relying on your headlights to see.
- Keep distractions to a minimum.
While driving at night, seeing, watching, and being cautious are your full-time jobs. Don’t get distracted by looking at your phone, having heated conversations, monitoring shenanigans in the backseat, or listening to music blaring from the radio.
Night, evening, and early morning driving is tough when you haven’t planned ahead. The precautionary guidelines above will make this type of driving less risky and dangerous for you and your passengers.