Fall is here! And with it comes cooler weather, football games, and shorter days. For many of us, shorter days mean more time spent behind the wheel in the dark. While night driving has its positives—fewer cars on the road, less roadwork, and beautiful night skies—it may also be dangerous. Half of all traffic accidents occur in the evening and nighttime hours. Darkness can compromise a driver’s depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision. Below some tips to help keep you safe while driving at night.
AVOID DROWSY DRIVING
Nobody plans to be tired while driving, but there are steps to take to decrease your risk of fatigue during your normal driving hours. First and foremost, get a good night’s sleep, and not just the night before you drive. Failing to get consistent, adequate sleep will eventually catch up with you. Drivers need to recognize their own signs of fatigue. If you feel tired, pull over to take a break and refresh yourself. Going for a walk or taking a short nap are ways to combat drowsy driving.
AVOID IMPAIRED VISION
Impaired vision is common at nightfall—no matter how good your vision is. There are factors that can get in the way of what lies on the road ahead. To reduce accidents caused by impaired vision:
- Make sure your headlights are clean.
- Dim your dashboard lights.
- Avoid looking at the headlights of oncoming traffic.
- Clean all windows—inside and out—to eliminate streaks.
- Increase your following distance.
KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN
No matter how safe of a driver you are, there is not much you can do about other drivers or wildlife on the road. Both wildlife and drunk, fatigued, or distracted drivers tend to come out of nowhere, and while you cannot necessarily prevent an animal or impaired driver from crossing your path, you can control how you react. By maintaining proper following distance and keeping your eyes moving, you can give yourself adequate time to prepare and act accordingly.
SLOWER IS SAFER
You should never be in a hurry to get to your destination, and even if you’re running behind, driving fast may set you back even further. Speeding can result in both tickets and accidents. Driving too fast may prevent you from seeing an animal crossing the road or an impaired driver coming from the side.
Truck driving at night can be peaceful and rewarding, but it can also be dangerous. Keep yourself and those around you safe by acknowledging the dangers of driving in the dark and taking action to prevent accidents.