Staying Safe While Driving at Night
Driving at night lets you skip the traffic, but it does come with its own dangers. Across the United States, accident rates tend to be higher at night than they are during daylight hours. Whether you drive at night on a regular basis or only occasionally, following a few key safety tips can help you protect yourself and others.
Discover our most important night driving safety tips, and if you’re hurt in a car accident, let us help. Call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661 to set up a consultation now.
Check Your Lights for Functionality
Your headlights are a key part of your nighttime safety, but it’s easy to miss it when one or both go out. Once every week or so, get out of your car after starting it but before driving. Make sure both headlights are shining at full brightness and that they are properly adjusted. Driving with dim or dead lights can put you at a significantly higher risk of a crash.
Distractions can be deadly whenever you are driving, but they are especially dangerous when you are driving at night. Drivers often turn to loud music, their phones, or other distractions in order to avoid getting tired at night. However, this makes it more likely that you’ll miss obstacles or other vehicles that come across your path.
Before leaving, set up your GPS directions, your music or podcasts, and anything else you may need to get through your drive. This will limit your need to use your phone while driving. If you find that you reach for your phone whenever you hit a lull in your drive, consider installing an app that locks your phone when your car is in motion. It could save your life.
This also includes distractions created by your passengers—if you have a passenger who wants to keep the cabin lights on so they can read or otherwise entertain themselves, find another light source. Cabin lights can be a significant source of distraction for nighttime drivers.
Use High Beams When Appropriate
High beams get a bad reputation because of their potential to irritate those driving toward you, but if you are driving in a rural setting or another quiet road, you’re unlikely to run into many other drivers. Additionally, high beams can alert you to obstacles that your regular lights cannot—such as deer or stalled vehicles in the distance. Most vehicles now automatically sense when another vehicle is coming and dim your high beams, making it even easier to use these lights safely.
Slow Down and Leave Space
Even though there’s less traffic at night, avoid the urge to save a few minutes by speeding. You should be driving more slowly at night than in the daytime—it’s harder to see obstacles on the road and speeding gives you less time to stop or take evasive action. Check your driving speed; if something were to enter the very end of your headlight range, would you be able to stop in time and avoid hitting it? If not, you should slow down.
Additionally, if you do end up sharing the road with other drivers, make sure to leave plenty of space between you and them. The risk of encountering a drunk driver is higher at night, and you don’t want to end up too close to an erratic or unsafe driver.
Don’t Drive While Fatigued
Fatigued driving is a serious risk when driving at night. If you must drive at night, ensure that you are fully rested before you hit the road. The research on drowsy driving is clear. Being awake for at least 18 hours is similar to having a BAC of 0.05%, and being awake for at least 24 hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.1%. When you add this to the other dangers of nighttime driving, driving while drowsy is a recipe for disaster.
Injured in a Car Crash? Turn to the Team at Mann & Potter
If you or someone you love is involved in a car accident, find out if you are entitled to compensation. Our team is here to advocate for you every step of the way. Call us at 205-879-9661 or reach out via our online contact form.