Night Driving and How to Do it Safely
Auto accidents occur every day on clear roads and in ideal driving conditions. According to the National Safety Council, accident-related deaths are three times more likely to occur at night than they are in daylight hours. Whether one is driving on a clear night or in bad weather, nighttime driving is hazardous.
Fatigue also makes nighttime driving dangerous. Even mild drowsiness impairs concentration and slows reactions. Vision is required to react to 90 percent of external situations. Colors, peripheral awareness and depth perception are altered when the sun sets. Older drivers have the greatest difficulty at night. By age 50, drivers need twice as much light as they would have at age 30.
Alcohol is responsible for many fatal traffic accidents. This is especially true on weekend nights. More fatal crashes occur on weekend nights than at any other time.
Stay safe on the road
The National Safety Council has compiled a list of practical tips to combat nighttime auto accidents:
- Clean the windows, headlights, taillights and turn signals periodically.
- Make sure the windshield wipers function correctly and the headlights are properly aimed. Misaligned lights can blind other drivers and won't illuminate the road ahead.
- Turn headlights on one hour before sundown to make sure you're visible to other drivers.
- Drive at appropriate speeds, and don't tailgate. There's no shame in pulling over to let someone pass.
- Dim high beams when following a car or approaching an oncoming vehicle. If another driver doesn't lower their lights, use the line on the right side of the road as a steering guide.
- If your vehicle is disabled, move it as far away from traffic as possible. Set up warning triangles or flares and use your dome light and four-way flashers to alert oncoming traffic.
To stay safe while driving at night, make frequent stops to stay alert. By following these tips, your vehicle is less likely to be involved in a nighttime accident.