There is only quarter of the usual day time traffic at night but nearly half of all traffic related deaths happen at night. Having less traffic on the road should not be seen as an invitation to step on gas. In fact, you should be extra careful because you cannot judge the depth and distance well and cannot recognize dangers until you are up close.
You may know the roads you travel well but they will present different challenges after dark. Furthermore, your body rhythm will be working against you since you will be tired and sleeper. You need to be aware of certain problems that come with driving between dusk and dawn. Some of the issues and helpful precautions are discussed below.
- Drive Slowly: Concentration problems, effects of lights and usual difficulty in recognizing the real distance during dark hours are some of the problems you are facing. You should concentrate on getting your destination safely instead of getting there quickly.
- Keep a Wider Distance: You should extend the gap between you and the vehicle in front. Maybe you should extend the distance to at least 3 car gap or 3 second rule instead of 2.
- Mind the Headlights: Don’t blind other drivers with your fog lights. It is a good idea to have them on when there is no other automobiles around. You should turn them down when you see another vehicle coming or you are approaching to one in front.
- Make Sure You Are Visible: Another problem with your headlights is that they should work properly. Both sides should be aligned and working properly.
- Get your Eyes Checked: If you are regularly traveling at night it may be best to get your night vision checked as well as normal eyesight. If you are using glasses you may need a different one after dark. Or you may need glasses at night even though you don’t need during the day.
- Keep your Windshield Clean: Smudges and glare are heightened at night and your windshield should be cleaner. Always check that they work properly and you have enough water to keep cleaning the windshield. Headlights should be clean of mud and dirt as well.
- Watch Out for Drowsiness: You should be expecting to get sleepy and drowsy after certain hours especially when you have been driving for some time. You should regularly take breaks to stretch your legs, get fresh air and have a coffee if you can find. You may want to leave your window slightly open as well if the weather isn’t too cold. It may be a good idea to pull into a rest area and nap for half an hour if you notice your eyelids are getting heavier.
- Never Ever Take Alcohol: You should never drive after drinking. This is extra important at night. You may be drinking a small can of beer with your meal as a refresher regularly and it may be within the limits of alcohol take. But you should avoid alcohol at all costs if you are planning on driving at night. It is a sedative and you will be fighting to stay awake.
- Watch for Wildlife: Again you should always watch for animals on the road. However, there may be more and larger animals on the road during the night time. If you spot one you shouldn’t panic and try to keep your auto steady. Otherwise, you may lose control and end up in a ditch or hit the car coming opposite direction.
- Watch for Other Obstructions: Rocks, trees, mud slides, water on the road are some of the dangers that will take a bit longer to notice when it is dark. Always be aware of this fact and drive more carefully.
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