Doesn’t it sound tempting to drive on an empty road with less heat and sunburns, or even driving during a nice breeze of a dark night! For some drivers and motorists this might seem like a perfect scenario, while others might fear and be intimidated to do so.
There is no doubt that driving at night is more challenging and can be nerve racking, risky, and dangerous more than many think.
Depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision are some of the factors that can be affected and weakened, a driver can be momentarily blinded by the glare of headlights from an oncoming car.
It is no surprise that night accidents are three times more likely to be fatal compared with the day accidents according to the National Safety Council (NSC) and many other studies.
So, to navigate these dangerous and dark streets, here are top 6 safety tips to follow while driving at night.
1. Check The Lights And Illuminate Your Path:
Are your headlights and taillights in perfect working conditions? Are they directed properly? What about your signal and brake lights? If your car is equipped with fog lights, are they functioning properly?
Your lights will be your best companion while driving in the dark. A broken headlight, for example, may make a car look from a distance like a motorbike, and broken brake lights will not alert drivers behind you that you are slowing down. Both of which make it more probable that an accident would happen.
Be wise on operating your headlights when driving in major roads and cities or when driving in district and country roads. Use your dipped beam lights when driving in a neighborhood and urban areas, as you can go full lights and high beams when driving on highways. But remember, when a car is approaching from the opposite direction to dim your lights, otherwise it might affect their visions.
Stay visible at night and use your lights! More importantly, stay visible in adverse weather conditions.
2. Make Sure Your Mirrors And Windows Are Clean:
Ensuring that your windows and mirrors are clean inside and out is essential for a safe night driving. What may look like a clean window, for example, can actually be a mess that can cause glare while driving in the dark.
So during the daylight, be sure to check the cleanliness of all windows and mirrors of your vehicle. A quick wipe and clean with a microfiber cloth will reduce the chances of getting the glare and being less prone to steaming up.
3. Take Your Car For Regular Check-Ups And Maintenance:
Regular checks and maintenance of your vehicle can help you escape the burden of future car issues. This includes a routine oil change, battery checks, tire rotation, windshield washer fluid, and much more.
Remember to fix any cracked windshield and or any broken lights, as having them defected will affect the resolutions and reduce your vision during the night drive.
4. Watch Out For Signs Of Fatigue And Get Some Rest:
Whenever you are behind the wheel, it's important to make sure you're well rested and alert. When it gets dark outside, your brain starts producing more sleep-inducing melatonin, which means you are more likely to get tired and sleepy when driving at night.
Few drivers have shared some different exercises and tips that have helped, such as turning the radio on (not very loud), moving down the windows occasionally for fresh air, talking with someone, or even singing.
It is dangerous to assume that you can drive without getting fatigue for long periods of time. Studies have shown that driving for 18 hours straight is similar to being drunk and driving under influence [resource].
For that, at the first signs of drowsiness, eye droop, or fatigue, stop for a break. Pull over to a safe place, have some caffeine and or snacks, and get some rest. Remember not to get back on track before being certain and in a fit condition to proceed.
5. Make Sure To Be Visible During Nighttime Emergencies:
If you had to pull over for an emergency, get to a safe place that is free of moving cars or obstacles, and make sure to be visible and can be easily seen by different drivers.
It is extremely important to increase your visibility to others If you have to stop on the shoulder of the lane. Turn on your hazards lights, wear a reflective safety vest - if available -, and place the reflective triangles, or road flares in the road behind your vehicle while, of course, being in a safe distance from the ongoing traffic.
6. Leave A Safe Distance Between Cars:
As a normal safety habit, it is important to keep a safe distance between cars while driving, but it becomes an essential thing especially when driving at night.
A good habit to adopt and keep in mind while driving is the two second rule, as it has been shown to reduce the probability of being in an accident as it provides enough time to emergency brake and stops the vehicle. To apply the two second rule, leave a two second distance between you and the car ahead of you.