What Should You Do When You Are Driving at Night to Be Safe?
As a young driver, you might have heard it a lot: Don’t drive at night. Driving at night is risky. While it might seem cliché, night driving is indeed hazardous. There are some things you should do to stay safe when driving at night.
Why Night Driving Is Risky
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the stats are clear. Deadly crash rates are three times higher at night compared to the daytime. There are a few reasons for this:
- Drivers can’t see as well at night.
- Fatigued drivers are more likely to fall asleep while night driving.
- Late-day driving includes dangerous rush hour traffic.
- Impaired driving is more common after dark.
Winter months are especially risky. It gets dark earlier, so driving risks come up earlier in the day.
Nine Safety Tips for Driving at Night
It’s safest to avoid night driving altogether. But that’s not realistic for everyone. If you have to drive while it’s dark, be safe.
Here are some things you should do to protect yourself and other drivers at night.
1. Stay Extra Alert
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one in 25 adult drivers said they fell asleep while driving in the last 30 days.
Drowsy driving is too common. It’s especially common between midnight and 6 a.m. Shift workers and commercial drivers are more likely to be on the road at night, also. Driver fatigue can easily lead to an accident at night.
Don’t be one of the drowsy drivers. Keep yourself awake if you have to be on the road late:
- Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night.
- Consume some caffeine.
- Keep the radio on.
- Roll down your windows.
- Pullover and rest if you need to.
If you can tell you aren’t safe to drive, don’t do it. Have someone else drive you, or wait until morning.
2. Check Your Lights
Make sure your headlight and taillights work correctly. Are all of the bulbs functional? Do they point in the right direction? Any light issues can make it hard for other drivers to see you.
If you don’t have automatic lights, always turn yours on before sundown. Even a small decrease in visibility can cause accidents.
3. Do Not Drink and Drive
This should be obvious, but drinking and driving is never okay. Drunk drivers tend to be on the roads more at night. Drunk driving accidents also tend to be the most fatal.
Never start driving with alcohol in your system. Make sure you are 100% sober before driving at night (or anytime).
4. Keep a Clean View
Dirty windshields and windows impair your vision. They can also increase the glare from other lights. Keep all of your windows clear and free of debris.
5. Maintain a Safe Distance
Don’t drive too close behind other vehicles at night. Use the three-second test:
- Choose a landmark beside the road.
- As the car in front of you reaches the milestone, start counting.
- Stop counting when your vehicle reaches the milestone.
- There should be three seconds between the vehicles.
If you are closer than three seconds from the vehicle in front of you, slow down. Plus, it’s best to keep an even farther distance at night.
Too many drivers choose to speed while night driving. Don’t be one of those drivers. Stay within the posted speed limit and avoid speeding drivers.
6. Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving can be incredibly dangerous. Examples of distracted driving include:
- Making phone calls
- Checking social media
- Talking to passengers
- Adjusting the radio
- Eating or drinking
Even a moment of distraction is dangerous. Distracted driving is even worse at night. Plus, if you’re tired, your reaction times are already limited. Being distracted just puts you at a higher accident risk.
7. Don’t Look Directly into the Light
Avoid looking straight into other traffic lights. Staring right into headlights can cause temporary blindness to road hazards.
When you come upon another vehicle, keep your eyes down and to the right. Look back up right after you’ve passed the other driver.
8. Use Your Lights Responsibly
Make sure your headlights are always on during the night. When it’s safe, use your high beams. It’s best to use your high beams when:
- You’re on rural or country roads
- Outside of cities
- Visibility is weak
- No other drivers are around
When you see oncoming cars or approach another car, dim your lights. Use your high beams again when the coast is clear.
9. Adjust Inside Lighting
Too-bright dashboard lights can be distracting or disorienting. Adjust your car’s inside lights so that they are comfortable for your eyes. If other lights are blinding you, use your visor as a shield.
Follow the above steps to drive safely at night. Remember, it’s best to drive when the sun is still up. But if you have to drive after dark, be as safe as possible.
Your Rights After a Night Driving Accident
If another driver hits you at night, talk to a lawyer. You might be entitled to compensation for your costs. A car accident lawyer can help you gather evidence and build a strong case.
At the very least, schedule a free consultation to learn more. A lawyer can look at your accident details. After examining your case, they can discuss your legal options.
The other driver’s insurance company will look for ways to reduce your claim. Your lawyer can advocate for your rights. They can seek a fair settlement for your damages.
Get a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Our car accident lawyers do not charge a fee unless we win your case. You don’t have to worry about out-of-pocket costs. Contact us today, and we’ll match you with the best lawyer for your situation.
We’ll start with a FREE consultation. We can go over the details of your accident and answer your questions. To get your FREE consultation, call us at (214) 305-8277 or contact us online today.
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