While driving at night doesn’t have to be scary, drivers should use caution when driving at night as driving dangers can increase at night. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, fatal crashes are here times higher at night than during the day (per mile traveled). Below, we will discuss some safety tips for driving at night to help reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.
Fight Against Fatigue
Driving during the night or day, you should have full control over your ability to focus and control your vehicle. However, drowsy driving can affect your driving abilities. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous drunk driving because you can just as easily fall asleep behind the wheel, engage in reckless driving practices, struggle with blurry vision, and struggle with focus. If you feel tired at all, find a safe place to stop diving and take a break. You can also consider:
- Calling someone so they can talk to you and keep you engaged
- Opening your windows
- Chewing gum
- Changing the temperature so you are slightly uncomfortable
- Changing your sleep routine to avoid future drowsiness
Drunk driving accidents are four times more likely to occur at night than during the day. While you should avoid drinking and driving, you should also be more defensive and alert because of the risk of drunk drivers. If you notice a vehicle that is swerving or driving recklessly, keep your distance.
Use Your Headlights & High Beams
When driving at night, you should have your headlights on at all times to increase your visibility and sight lines. You should also use your high beams when it’s appropriate—just be sure to turn them off/down when a vehicle is approaching.
Attend to Car Maintenance
Before getting on the road, do a routine check of your vehicle to ensure your headlights and windshield are clear; because of the darkness, your visibility is already low, and you don’t need foggy or dirty headlights and/or an unclear windshield further inhibiting you. Making sure you complete routine maintenance on other aspects of your car can also reduce the risk that you will run into car trouble and have to pull over at night.
Avoid Two-Lane Highways
Nighttime glare (from headlights and high beams) is even worse on tow-lane roads and highways. If possible, consider taking another route to avoid two-lane roadways.
Speeding can affect your ability to react to a dangerous situation and control your vehicle in inclement weather; when you speed, you also reduce the ability of road safety features (like median dividers, guard rails, etc.). Because of lower visibility at night, you have even less time to react. When driving at any time, especially at night, you should slow down and adhere to the speed limit.
Watch Out for Wildlife & Pedestrians
As we have mentioned, it is a lot harder to see while driving at night, and many nighttime accidents involve a vehicle colliding with a pedestrian or wildlife on the road. While pedestrians and cyclists should have on reflective gear and bright clothing, some do not take this precaution, and animals don’t have reflectors. Be mindful of signs that warn you about animal crossing zones and take extra precaution in wooded and residential areas.
Taking your eyes off of the road to send a text, change the song, or grab your drink can have serious consequences. While distracted driving is dangerous at any time of day, distractions can be even more hazardous at night because of the limited visibility you have. When driving, use hands-free methods to engage with your technology (i.e. phone, Bluetooth music, etc.), and consider moving distractions out of reach.
It is also important to note that passengers can be a distraction. If you are driving with someone else, remind them that you need to focus and set ground rules/boundaries for the drive. For instance, be clear that you can’t look at videos and they shouldn’t try to hold the phone closer so you can see.Involved in a nighttime car accident? Contact Fitzpatrick Mariano Santos Sousa P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options today by calling (203) 583-8299. We look forward to hearing from you.