Most River Falls drivers don’t think of night driving as being any different than day driving. In fact, the two are quite dissimilar, with night driving being much more difficult and dangerous than day driving.
All drivers have an increased risk of crashing at night. Naturally, this is because visibility is limited. But it’s also because we tend to be more fatigued at night, and drowsy drivers may not be optimally alert.
If you would like to improve your night driving or are concerned about a road trip you’ll be taking at night, here are some tips for safe driving after the sun goes down.
Tips for Night Driving
1. Avoid Driving at Night Altogether When Possible
Let’s cut right to the chase: If you feel uncomfortable driving at night, it’s completely okay to simply avoid doing so.
Some older adults may find it especially tough to see the roadway as day turns into evening. Headlights and streetlamps may appear “starry,” and this will be exacerbated even more when conditions are wet.
To mitigate the chances of an accident, plan your driving so that you don’t need to drive at night. If you’re getting together with friends, have the gathering at your home instead of elsewhere. If you’re meeting someone for a meal, go for lunch instead of dinner. When running errands, schedule your stops so that you can get back before nightfall.
While sometimes, you’ll probably still be stuck driving at night, minimizing these occurrences will greatly reduce your risk of a night driving-related incident.
2. When You Have to Drive at Night
- Use other cars to guide you.
If you’re having trouble seeing the roadway at night, look to other cars for help. Based on where their headlights travel, they will help you see upcoming curves, bends, and stops in the road.
Just be sure to put extra distance between you and other vehicles when driving at night. Furthermore, while using your bright headlights can improve your own vision, always turn them off when you are directly behind another car or when oncoming traffic approaches.
Of course, traffic lights, streetlights, and roadway painted lines are there to assist you in staying on the road as well. You can also use reflective roadway signs as guides. These signs are standardly located right on the side of the road, so following their placement can help you stay the course.
- Drive defensively.
We already mentioned the importance of putting space between yourself and other drivers when traveling at night.
Other ways to drive defensively include:
- Keeping your speed down
- Cutting out distractions (radio, chatting on the phone, eating or drinking, putting on makeup, fiddling with something in your purse or wallet, etc.)
- Paying special attention at cross-walks and places where pedestrians may be
- Slowing in ample time before stops and highway exits
- Always using your blinkers when turning and/or changing lanes
3. Always Take Care When Pulling Over
If you need to pull over to the side of the road at night because of a flat tire or another emergency, be sure that you’ll be easily seen by other cars.
Putting on your hazard lights is the first step. You might also switch on your cabin dome light. If you have reflective triangles in your trunk, these can be placed behind your vehicle to alert oncoming cars of your presence ahead.
The tips listed above aren’t just tips to help you be a “better driver.” Instead, they are potentially life-saving. Take them to heart, and share them with your friends and family. You’ll be doing your part to improve driving conditions for everyone on the road.