If you’ve ever taken a long drive at night, especially outside the city limits, you’ll probably already know how demanding a task it is. While there is often a relatively lower amount of traffic on the road, statistics have shown that more than 40 percent of all fatal accidents tend to happen after dark. There are, however, certain precautions you can take in order to reduce the risks of driving in the night.
Lights and Beams
The very first thing to do when you get into a car is to familiarise yourself with the apparatus that switches the headlights and the high beams on and off, as also the cabin lights. As soon as the visibility starts to go low, even if slightly, it is prudent to turn the headlights on. And if the area is poorly lit, with few street lights in the picture, switching on to high beams makes sense as well. However, it is also important to remember to switch off the high beams when you see a vehicle approaching, especially around a curve, or if you’re driving behind another car.
Do not use high beams when driving in foggy conditions since the fog can reflect most of the light back onto you. There are fog-lights specially designed to help you drive in such conditions. A quick tip, if you’ve been suddenly blinded by the beams of an incoming vehicle, looking to the side while keeping the road ahead in your peripheral vision could help you deal with it.
Given that your visibility tends to get restricted in the night, it is all the more important that you are even more vigilant while driving at such hours. Road signs aren’t too difficult to spot since they’re coated with reflective paint but it is imperative that you keep a lookout for them. Do keep an eye out for animals straying onto the road as well, since they’re one of the major reasons for accidents occurring in the night. Stay wary of drivers who might seem to be drunk or otherwise tired and keep a safe distance from them. It is also vital that you keep your eyes focused on the road, continually scanning for potential risks so as to prevent yourself from spacing out.
Say No to Drowsy Driving!
It is quite natural for one to feel tired or drowsy while driving in the night, especially if you’re driving after a long day at work. However, it is also dangerous since shutting your eye even for a few moments while driving could lead to disastrous consequences. Make sure that you’ve had sufficient sleep before journeying out on a drive in the night, and that you haven’t consumed alcohol or taken any sedatives prior.
It is also a sensible decision to restrict your driving hours from midnight till about six in the morning since the traffic’s relatively lower (and so are the chances of you being caught napping at the wheel). If you are still feeling drowsy, it is always safer to hand over the wheel to another passenger and if there isn’t any, to park your car in a safe spot at the side of the road and take a short nap.
Night Drive Maintenance
This is one aspect of night driving that is greatly underestimated and often ignored. Keep your windshield as well as your headlamps and fog-lights in optimal conditions so as to improve your visibility in the night. If the lights in your car have started to fade or have burned out, get them replaced immediately.
A windshield that might look rather clean in the day could still produce a certain glare in the night. So it is necessary that you give it a nice wipe (refrain from touching the windshield from the inside with your bare hands, even if it is to wipe the mist), preferably using a newspaper or a microfiber cloth.