There are many drivers here in Florida who dread getting behind the wheel after the sun goes down, and understandably so. It’s dark, so it is more difficult to see the road or the things around you. And if you’re unfamiliar with the area in which you’re driving, the lack of visibility just makes operating a motor vehicle more complicated. Also, low visibility at night can contribute to motor vehicle accidents.
But, if you know what you’re doing, driving at night can be satisfying and actually better if you’re traveling long distances or taking a road trip. One major advantage, and the reason why a lot of people prefer to travel at night, is the lack of traffic. However, according to the National Safety Council, the risk for traffic deaths is about three times greater at night as opposed to the day. The following safety strategies could help prevent an accident when you’re driving at night.
Clean the windshield and headlights
A dusty windshield may be okay during the day, but at night, a dirty windshield can cause glare. Since there is already a reduced visibility at night, keeping your windshield clean is one of the most important, and overlooked, things you can do to improve safety. Making sure your headlights are clean and in proper working order is also just as important. Clean and functioning headlights will not only enable you to see the road better, but other drivers will be able to see you as well.
Slow down and increase following distance
You may be in a hurry to get to your destination, but getting there a little late is better than not getting there at all. At night, it is critical to reduce your speed and avoid tailgating other vehicles. Since there is a reduction in visibility, you will need more time and distance to react or stop your vehicle in case of an emergency. The three-second rule is a good way to gauge your following distance. As the vehicle you’re following passes an object beside the road, such as a tree, there should be a gap of at least three seconds before you reach the same object.
Nighttime driving requires constant focus and attention. Yet, with phones and other modern-day gadgetry, drivers have more things to distract them behind the wheel than ever before. Always avoid distractions when driving. Whether you’re surfing radio stations or using your phone, taking your attention off the road for just a split second can cause an accident. Distracted driving can also result in hefty fines.
It’s no secret that you’re more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel at night. So, if you notice yourself getting tired while driving, pull over and take a break, or find a hotel and get some sleep. Unfortunately, there are going to be other drivers who throw caution to the wind and drive distracted, exhausted or intoxicated. Even if you are safe and do everything right, an accident could still happen. Luckily, there is help available for those injured by negligent drivers.