When it comes to car accidents, many more crashes occur at night than in the daytime.
All ages experience challenges driving at night, and the task can be especially challenging for seniors. Still, there’s no reason that night driving has to be dangerous. Below, find some key tips for improving your night driving skills and always making it safely to your destination.
Tip #1 – Know Where to Look
After the sun goes down, your vision is naturally limited, and you must rely on your night vision to see where you’re going. Unfortunately, humans don’t have very good night vision, so we need to use specific markers to guide us when we drive.
Roadway designers have implemented several types of markers to help drivers at night. These include:
- Reflective paint on roadway lines
- Reflective roadway signs
- Road reflectors and roadside markers
All of these can help you find the road and stay on the road.
Most of all, however, your headlights are going to help guide you. To make the most of your headlights, make sure you turn down your dash lights when you drive at night as these can be distracting to your vision.
Tip #2 – Reduce Your Speed
In addition to turning down your dash lights at night, you should also reduce your speed. Experts recommend that American drivers reduce their speed by 5 to 8 mph when driving at night.
But keep in mind that if you feel more comfortable going even slower, you can do this as well. It is simply advised that you don’t reduce your speed too much as driving extremely slow can be almost as dangerous as driving extremely fast on some roads.
Situations where you may need to slow down more than 8 mph include rainy or snowy weather, excessive fog, or icy conditions.
Tip #3 – Put Ample Distance Between You and Other Cars
Always keep your distance with other cars when driving at night. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to double the distance you would usually stay away from the car ahead of you.
Because night driving conditions can be more difficult to see in, your response times will be delayed. Keeping your distance between other cars will give you a little cushion in the event that you need to break or accelerate all at once.
Tip #4 – Improve or Replace Your Headlights
Often, reduced visibility at night is exacerbated by poorly lit or dirty headlights. If you suspect your headlights could be shining brighter, give them a clean and polish, removing all dirt and bugs. In some cases, you may also need to replace your headlights or get them replaced at your local garage.
Tip #5 – Keep a Special Lookout for Pedestrians
Lastly, remember to look out for pedestrians, especially when driving through towns or cities. Pedestrians who are out at night may not be wearing appropriate reflective clothing or gear. In this case, and when they are wearing dark clothing, they can be extremely difficult to see.
While it is certainly not recommended that pedestrians walk, run, or bike on the side of the road at night (especially when there is not a sidewalk or trail), it is still imperative that drivers look out for such individuals in order to avoid a terrible tragedy.
Use these tips to help you drive safer at night. While it’s not possible to control what other drivers do or don’t do on the road, you always have agency over your own actions — and this can make all the difference when it comes to your safety.