While driving at night is difficult to tell if the mass in front of the vehicle is a deer or a pedestrian, no it's hard to see why night driving is so overwhelming for many drivers. Despite much more driving in the morning, 40-50% of accidents occur at night. Fortunately, driving at night doesn't have to be unsafe. With simple safety measures, you can drive calmly, maintain high visibility and enjoy the unique experience of an immersive night of driving!
Part 1 of 3: Safe Driving Practices
Step 1. When you hesitate, turn on the lights
As night begins to fall on city streets and highways, there are at least an hour or two when some cars turn on their lights and others don't. As a general rule of thumb, if you notice it getting dark (even just a little bit), it's a good idea to turn on the lights. You may not need them to see the road at that time, but it may be easier for other drivers to see tea with your headlights on, especially if the sun sets behind you and obscures your view of oncoming traffic.
Also, it is important to note that in many jurisdictions, driving without lights in the morning or at night is illegal. For example, in California the lights must be turned on from half an hour before sunset to half an hour after dawn and also if there is a low visibility condition
Step 2. Slow down
As a general rule, when driving at night you should travel at a lower speed than during the day. Because visibility is much lower at night even on well-lit urban roads, it takes longer to see and react to road hazards, pedestrians, and other obstacles. You cannot choose the type of danger you will encounter while driving but you can control how you drive, so the most sensible thing to do is simply slow down to give yourself more time to react to a difficulty. It is not advisable to overtake 'the headlights, that is, to drive so fast that you cannot stop within the distance illuminated by them.
A rule of thumb when driving at night is to think that "the speed limit on traffic signs is the maximum speed allowed but not the maximum safe speed." Don't be afraid to go below the posted speed limit if you don't have much visibility, especially if you are rounding a curve or at the top of a hill, where your visibility is further reduced. Allow other drivers to pass you if necessary
Step 3. Beware of tired and drunk drivers
Statistically, there are many more drunk or tired drivers behind the wheel at night than there are in the day. This can have deadly consequences. For example, in 2011, accidents caused by alcohol were four times more at night than during the day. Both states can greatly reduce a driver's reaction speed or reckless behavior, so be on the lookout for drivers on an uneven path and stay as far away from them as possible.
Keep in mind that there are more drunk drivers on Saturday and Friday nights than on the other nights of the week, as many people start the weekend with a drink or two. Holidays can be "much" worse. For example, some analyzes show that the first hours of January 1 are the time of year with the highest number of traffic accidents caused by alcohol
Step 4. Take frequent breaks to combat fatigue
Make sure to monitor your own fatigue, as well as watch out for other drivers affected by it. Fatigued driving can present the same risks as being drunk, including reduced attention, slower reaction times, a "disconnect" from reality, lane drifting, and so on. To combat these problems, stop frequently to exercise a little, eat something and / or consume some caffeine and renew your concentration before returning to the vehicle.
If you're too tired to drive, like when you have a hard time keeping your eyes open, stop and find a place to get some sleep. Better safe than sorry. Plus, the deadly risks of falling asleep behind the wheel for a few seconds are far worse than just being late for your destination
Step 5. Take care of animals, especially in rural areas
Animals crossing the road are especially dangerous at night. It is very difficult to see them on poorly lit roads when driving at high speeds. In addition, impacts against large animals such as deer can be fatal or cause a lot of damage, both for the animal and for the driver and the car. Be vigilant when you are in places where a deer or other animal can cross (such as in rural areas). Pay attention to any signs of animals on the road and slow down appropriately. Also, keep in mind that most deer accidents occur in late fall and early winter, even though they can occur year-round.
- If you see an animal in front of you, the most sensible action is do not change direction. While done on instinct, turning is the leading cause of injury and fatal outcome in deer accidents. Instead, slow down as much as possible by pressing the brake fully and letting the car hit the animal.
- A useful trick to spot animals in front of you is to look for their retinas. Usually it is difficult or impossible to see the animal's body before it enters the area illuminated by the headlights, but you can see the light reflected in its eyes from a much greater distance. If you see two bright spots slightly separated in the dark in front of you, slow down!
Step 6. Keep your eyes moving
Disconnecting 'can be a serious problem for night drivers. To stay focused, try moving your eyes while driving. Examine the road in front of you constantly for possible dangers. Take a look at the sides of the road and check your mirrors occasionally to stay alert to your surroundings. Resist the urge to focus on the dividing line of the road, as it does not give you enough visual information and can hypnotize you and cause you to lose focus.
The relatively calm and peaceful atmosphere of the night and the uniformity of the coal-black surroundings can combine to put drivers into a dangerous trance state. Even if a driver does not fall asleep immediately, the distracted state he enters can be very dangerous, resulting in slower reaction times, poor memory, and other problems. Always be alert and vigilant - your life and the lives of other drivers could depend on it
Step 7. Take all the precautions when driving at night that you take during the day
It may be obvious, but it should be noted that the security measures you take during the day are also important at night. Make sure to buckle up, adjust seats and mirrors, put away your cell phone, and focus on the road while behind the wheel. These simple and common precautions make driving safer and reduce the chance of an accident, day or night.
Part 2 of 3: Improve Visibility
Step 1. Keep your headlights, mirrors, and windshield in top condition
Headlights are the main protection when driving at night. If they don't work well, you basically increase the risk of an accident for no reason. Keep your headlights clean by washing them every few weeks. This will keep its power and clarity at its best. If a headlight burns out, replace it as soon as possible and avoid driving at night until it does. Keep in mind that it is generally illegal to drive without working headlights.
Also, to have the best possible visibility you should keep your windshield, windows, and mirrors clean and clear whenever possible. Avoid using your hand to rub these parts of the vehicle, as the skin's natural oils can leave dark spots. Instead, use newspaper or a microfiber towel
Step 2. Use the high beam in low light conditions
The long-range light setting can greatly increase safety when driving at night, but only if used correctly. The high beam should only be used when driving in dark, low-visibility areas where there is not a lot of traffic. In these cases, the long-range light can greatly extend and widen the field of view. Use this setting if you think it is necessary.
- Make sure to turn off your high beam when following another car or when there is oncoming traffic. In these cases, the power of the long-range light can make it difficult for others to drive well.
- If you are on a curve or at the top of a hill and you see the slight gleam of another car's headlights, turn off the high beam ahead of time so you don't suddenly blind the other driver.
Step 3. Adjust the headlights
Sometimes a car's headlights are tilted toward the ground more than necessary or are not symmetrically aligned. Not even the most powerful headlights in the world are of any use if they don't have the right angle to illuminate the road as much as possible. If you have trouble seeing ahead when driving at night, it may be a good idea to readjust your car's headlights. In general, in a professional mechanic shop the process is quick and inexpensive.
You can also adjust them by yourself. As each car is different, be sure to follow the instructions in the owner's manual. Be patient, it may take a little while to align your headlights perfectly
Step 4. Deal with other drivers' high beams by looking to the side of the road
In a perfect world, other drivers would dim their lights when you saw you, just as you would. Unfortunately, they don't always remember to do it. If a car coming towards you has the high beam on, avoid looking at it if you don't want to go blind for a moment. Instead, look to the right hand side of the lane (or to the left in countries where driving is on the left side) while keeping your peripheral vision alert to dangers. This way you stay alert to your surroundings and preserve your sight at the same time.
If a car behind you uses high beam headlights, try adjusting your rear view mirror to avoid getting the light in your eyes. You can even rearrange the mirror to reflect light onto the driver and alert him to his mistake
Step 5. Consider adding lower fog lights
If you know you'll be driving a lot at night and in foggy conditions, it might be a good idea to invest in an extra set of fog lights. These lights are often installed at the bottom of the bumper to illuminate as much of the road as possible. Fog is generally finest at or just above ground level. However, not all accessory lights are made equal, so consult an auto expert before purchasing.
Never use the vehicle's standard high beam headlights. Reflective water particles shine back at you, darkening your vision even more than if you didn't use any light
Step 6. If you wear lenses, they must have an anti-reflective coating
The headlights of other cars can present a challenge for drivers with glasses, as they may reflect light from oncoming vehicles, creating a glare that obscures the view of the wearer. To avoid this, try wearing contact lenses or buying lenses that have an anti-reflective coating that minimizes this effect.
If you buy a special pair of glasses, keep them in the car so they are available when you drive
Part 3 of 3: Enjoy driving at night
Step 1. Stay awake talking to a passenger
When you master the fundamentals of driving safely at night, the experience can be fun and relaxing, especially if you make the most of opportunities for fun that also help you drive safely. For example, if you have a passenger in the car while driving at night, it is a good idea to have a light conversation with that person. Talking is a great way to keep driving fatigue at bay. Plus, the calm, coal-black surroundings can lead to a surprisingly intimate conversation.
However, you should not get too involved in the conversation. For example, getting into a heated argument can distract you from your most important task: driving safely
Step 2. Listen to songs that are ideal for driving at night
Driving at night can be an ideal time to listen to your favorite music on your car's sound system. The calm and peace of a night's driving make it easier to hear the little details of a song, making good music particularly enjoyable. Some people prefer to listen to upbeat disco or electronic music, while others enjoy the adrenaline rush of heavy rock. There is no suitable type of music to listen to at night, it's up to you! We present you some great songs from different genres, but keep in mind that there are many, many more:
- Kavinsky - "Nightcall"
- Chromatics - "Back From the Grave"
- DJ Shadow - "Midnight in a Perfect World"
- Kyuss - "Gardenia"
- Allan Kingdom - "Evergreens"
- Golden Earring - "Radar love"
- Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, and Tich - "Hold Tight"
- Daft Punk - "Contact"
- Charles Mingus - "Moanin '"
Step 3. Visit night attractions
Driving at night can be a way to get in touch with people and things that you wouldn't normally see! For example, most big cities come alive at night and are filled with unique characters enjoying the nightlife. Even rural areas have a unique nighttime flavor. Every part of the road is different, so keep your eyes open for attractions as you drive. If you pause long enough to avoid fatigue, you will have plenty of opportunities to stop at one. Here are some attractions that you might like to visit:
- Night cafes or meeting points
- Bars and clubs (note: avoid drinking if you are driving)
- Truck stops or rest areas
- Picturesque paths and viewpoints
- Camping areas
- Car attractions (such as drive-ins and restaurants)
Step 4. Enjoy the calm (responsibly)
Driving at night can be a unique experience. Thanks to the smooth and constant sound of the engine and the surrounding darkness, driving can be almost like flying through space. It feels mysterious, fun, and even exciting. ' For some people, it is one of the pleasures of life that is simpler as well as fun. There's nothing wrong with enjoying night driving, but don't forget to focus on what's most important: your safety and that of other drivers. Always remember that being distracted while driving can be deadly (especially at night), so pay attention to the road. If you are confident in your safe driving habits, you can relax, get in harmony and enjoy the ride responsibly!
- Check your vehicle's lights periodically, especially if you know you'll be driving at night more often in the coming winter months. To make the process easier, take turns with a friend to make sure all the lights come on. You can also see the reflection of the car in the windows of a glass building.
- Block out distractions while driving, but don't just focus on the road. Doing so can put you in a hypnotic state and perhaps disconnect you for a moment. Keep your eyes moving around the car and the scenery.
- Set your mirrors to night mode or turned to reduce glare from your taillights.
- Always buckle up and encourage passengers to do the same.
- Do not drive while intoxicated.
- Don't drive if you are tired. In some countries, drowsy driving counts as a reduction in driving ability. It is dangerous even outside the law.
- Don't believe the urban legend that sunglasses with yellow or light orange moons help you see better at night. Wearing them at night can make objects appear brighter.