Many people don’t feel confident driving at night as the darkness often impairs people’s sight and makes other cars and hazards on the road less visible.
And the stats are there to prove it, with traffic fatalities as much as three times higher at night than during the day. So when you’re night driving, you’ll need to be extra vigilant to keep safe. Here are some tips.
Watch Your Following Distance
We’ve all experienced someone driving too close to our bumper and felt like saying “back off buddy!” It’s annoying during the day and even more so at night when it can make people nervous and overreact, causing an accident. When you get too close to the car in front, your headlights are distracting and make it difficult for the driver to see the road. Driving too close also causes accidents when the driver behind does not leave themselves enough time to react when the car in front experiences a sudden change in driving behaviour.
At night you have to be more watchful and alert to avoid having collisions with other cars, objects and animals that scoot in front of you from nowhere. Don’t get distracted by music or zone out; keep an eye out for movement, what’s lying ahead and check your mirrors often. Practice being a defensive driver; this means watching out for other drivers’ mistakes as well as your own.
Check Your Headlights
If you do a lot of night driving then making sure your headlights are clean and working properly is essential. If they’re dirty or you’re driving around with only one, or worse, none, then the chances of having a collision with another car is much higher. If the police catch you, you’ll get an instant fine too. Be courteous with your headlights, don’t drive around with your high beams on unless you’re out on country roads, and even then you should dip them for oncoming cars.
Don’t Drive When Tired
Too many people make the mistake of getting behind the wheel when they’re tired. If you start nodding off, you could drift into the path of an oncoming car or maybe end up in the ditch. Our bodies are more accustomed to sleeping than driving at night so monitor yourself. If you start feeling like you’re going to nod off either pull over into a safe rest area and have a short power nap or get out and stretch and grab a coffee.