As the days grow shorter and Daylight Savings Time draws closer, driving in the dark becomes harder to avoid for many of us. Nighttime driving is riskier than driving during daylight hours, with more accidents and more fatal accidents occurring after the sun has set in the US. According to the National Safety Council, 50% of traffic fatalities happen at night, despite far fewer people driving during that time.
Brush up on these nighttime driving safety tips to keep you, your family and others on the road safe during the darker months.
Driving in the Dark Safety Tips
Beware Rush Hour
The most dangerous time to drive is rush hour, between 5pm and 7pm according to Driver’s Ed. During the fall and winter months, it’s also dark at this time. Be sure to turn on your lights as soon as it starts to get dark and be cognizant of your surroundings by constantly scanning the road. Also be sure to allow room between you and the cars around you to give yourself time to react while driving.
Make Sure Your Windshield and Mirrors are Clean
Having a clean windshield and mirrors is smart no matter the time of day, but it is even more important when visibility is low, like when it’s dark. Streaks or condensation can cause glare and reflections, which make it more difficult to see during nighttime drives.
Newspaper has long been a trusted remedy for eliminating streaks. For a more in-depth look at how to keep your windshield clean and streak free, check out this video from Auto Blog.
Don’t Stare at Headlights
If there are other cars out on the road, be careful not to stare at their headlights. This can affect your nighttime vision and leave your vision temporarily impaired. While it’s important to focus on the road, focusing on lights in the darkness can be dangerous.
Dim The Lights
With so many controls and features on dashboards these days, there’s plenty there that can distract you and endanger you while driving at night. Dimming your dashboard display can help you focus on what’s going on out on the dark roads and reduce glare and reflections on your windshield.
Also, dimming your headlights is important for keeping others and yourself safe on the road. To avoid blinding other vehicles while driving at night, be sure to dim your high beams when approaching and passing other drivers. It’s not only good manners, it helps keep you safe!
Make Sure You've Gotten Rest
You're three times more likely to get in a crash if you're fatigued while driving, according to the National Safety Council. Drowsy driving is a real hazard on the road, so be sure to rest up before needing to drive, especially if it's late.
Get Your Eyes Checked
Dark conditions make it harder for our eyes to accurately perceive depth and notice changes, so be sure to keep up with your eye appointments. Many different eye conditions can lead to reduced night vision, which can make driving in the dark more dangerous.
During the darker winter months, driving can be more dangerous due to reduced visibility. By keeping these tips in mind, you can help reduce your risk at night. As always in lower visibility conditions, be sure to watch your speed, give yourself room out on the road by not following too closely to other cars, and make proper use of your headlights and high beams.