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Driving Safely at Night

July 19, 2018

Driving in darkness is far more dangerous than driving in daylight. Many factors make night driving more dangerous, including reduced visibility, difficulty judging speed and distance, and fatigued and/or impaired drivers. Follow these tips to make driving at night as safe as possible:

  • Keep your windows, mirrors, and lights clean. This may seem obvious, but it’s harder to see and be seen when these items aren’t kept clean. Dust and dirt constantly collect on automobiles, and the resulting decreases in visibility compound slowly but surely. The effect can be so gradual that you never realize how much your visibility is impaired. Think your windshield is clean? The grime you see after one swipe with a damp paper towel will likely surprise you. And remember to clean the windows from the inside of the vehicle as well. Headlights and taillights become dim as countless tiny scratches accumulate on their surfaces. Again, the effect is often too gradual to notice, but it significantly reduces your visibility to other drivers. Products and do it yourself solutions are easy to find, and if the damage is too severe, consider replacing the light assemblies.
  • Use your turn signals! This should be ingrained habit any time you are behind the wheel, but it’s even more dangerous to ignore your indicators at night. You want other drivers to anticipate and react safely to your next move, so give them the information they need.
  • Use your headlights early and often. Another obvious tip, but your visibility is greatly increased when your headlights are on. So turn them on well before dusk and leave them on well after dawn.
  • Get your vision checked. Again, the diminishment in your ability to see clearly can be so gradual that you never notice you are impaired until it’s too late. Get regular eye checkups, other drivers are relying on you.
  • Dim your interior lights and focus on the road. Modern vehicles and modern life are full of visual distractions. Minimize their effect by dimming interior lights and accessories, and, as always, put your phone down and focus on driving.
  • Give more time and space to other drivers. People make erratic maneuvers when they cannot see their route clearly. Expect other drivers to do the unexpected at night, and leave more space to safely accommodate them.

There are many other ways to increase your vision and visibility at night. Educate yourself, create safe habits, and be part of the solution to keeping the roadways safe in the dark.


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AUTHOR:
Nathan Pluto
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