When you’ve been driving for several years, it’s easy to start feeling invincible behind the wheel. However, regardless of how experienced you are, certain road conditions still pose a very real risk for you and the other drivers around you. Nighttime driving is especially dangerous, as it severely cuts your range of sight and leaves you vulnerable to surprise obstacles. So, if you plan on hitting the road at night, make sure you use these safety tips for driving in the dark.
Use Defensive Driving Practices
First and foremost, make sure you’re changing how you drive as soon as night begins to fall. Since you won’t be able to see as far ahead of you, you’ll need to maximize your response time should something suddenly appear. This means reducing your speed and increasing the distance between you and the vehicles around you. Defensive driving allows you to better avoid collisions by providing you with not only additional space to maneuver but extra time to determine the best course of action, as well.
Know When You’re Fatigued
It’s also crucial that you can identify when you’re becoming too fatigued to drive properly. Tiredness inhibits our focus and reflexes, making it one of the major causes of nighttime driving accidents. So, in order to best protect yourself, you must be able to acknowledge when you’re too sleepy to drive. Some tell-tale signs include heavy eyelids, increased rate of distraction, and yawning. Should you experience any of these things while driving, pull over immediately and get some rest before continuing.
Control Your Interior and Exterior Lights
Another important safety tip for driving in the dark is to adjust your vehicle’s lights to accommodate the dimmer environment. Since you want to maximize your level of vision outside your car, this involves dimming your dashboard lights and raising the brightness of your headlights. This makes it easier to see outside by reducing glare inside. Make sure you’re ready to switch off your brights when another vehicle passes by so you don’t temporarily blind them.
Watch Out for Construction Zones
Keep an eye out for road construction zones as you drive after-hours, as well. Though these areas are typically illuminated by large lighting systems, they can still be difficult to see when they’re shut off for the night. This is why it’s also important that you know the meanings of each type of road sign and can understand what they’re telling you to do. In following their directions, you have a better chance of navigating through the site without incident.