Safe driving is all about good habits, right? There are so many things on the road that we have to account for, and it would be overwhelming if it was all conscious, rather than subconscious, a force of habit. Remembering to turn your signals on every time you make a right would be like remembering to breathe, or needing a how-to guide for scratching your nose. Night driving demands a whole other set of habits. What are they? Keep reading:
Safe Habits For Driving At Night
- Wipe your windshield down with a sheet of newspaper. This can help to get rid of that glare you get from oncoming headlights.
- Maintain your “night vision.” Keep the dashboard lights dim and interior light distractions to a minimum, and try not to look directly at oncoming headlights. This way your eyes will stay adjusted to the lower light levels on the road.
- Clean your headlights. Bugs and grime collected from regular driving can dim your headlights.
- Check your headlights regularly and replace them when they start to burn out. You may want to consider upgrading to night-vision headlights or having some fog lamps installed even if your current lights are working just fine.
- Keep all the glass clean. Not just your windshield, but your car windows, rear view mirrors, side view mirrors, even your glasses, if you wear them.
- Make sure that eye checkups are part of your regular medical check-up routine. Vision impairment can happen to just about anyone, at just about any age, but it is especially important to look out for as we get older. Get your eyes checked now and then even if you already wear a prescription. Just because you already have some vision problems that you know about doesn’t mean that you don’t have any that have yet to be diagnosed.
- Give yourself extra time to get there. This will allow you to plan out a safe, well-lit route and drive slower to accommodate for limited visibility. Driving at night is best avoided in general, but if you have to drive in the dark, give yourself some extra time to get there safely.
- Don’t assume you’re in the clear on empty roads. You probably won’t run into another car, but wild animals have a habit of leaping out into the road when we least expect it. Most animals have reflective eyes, so be on the lookout for any yellow glints in the dark, and make sure you’re not going so fast that you won’t have time to react. Worst-case scenario: Don’t swerve, as that has a tendency to just make the problem worse.
- Don’t drive tired. If you’re nodding off, find somewhere safe to at least nap for a few hours before hitting the road. If you’re just feeling a little sluggish, keeping the A/C up or opening the window can help to keep you alert for a short drive. The longer you’re going to be on the road, the more rest you’re going to need to safely get there.
These habits will help, but driving at night is almost always going to be more dangerous than driving in the daytime. These dangers are manageable, but if they’re avoidable, avoid them. Any trip you can make during the day, make that trip during the day.