According to the National Safety Council (NSC), traffic death rates triple at night, on average. Nighttime driving is both more difficult and more dangerous than many drivers realize — for drivers of all ages, but particularly for older drivers, who can’t see as well in the dark, and for younger drivers who are more likely to attempt to drive while impaired. By preparing your vehicle for night driving, and adhering to the following guidelines, provided courtesy of the NSC, you can minimize some of the inherent dangers of driving in the dark:
- “Prepare your car for night driving. Clean headlights, taillights, signal lights and windows (inside and out) once a week, more often if necessary.
- Have your headlights properly aimed. Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road.
- Don’t drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely impair your driving ability, it also acts as a depressant. Just one drink can induce fatigue.
- Avoid smoking when you drive. Smoke’s nicotine and carbon monoxide hamper night vision.
- If there is any doubt, turn your headlights on. Lights will not help you see better in early twilight, but they’ll make it easier for other drivers to see you. Being seen is as important as seeing.
- Reduce your speed and increase your following distances. It is more difficult to judge other vehicle’s speeds and distances at night.
- Don’t overdrive your headlights. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area. If you’re not, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.
- When following another vehicle, keep your headlights on low beams so you don’t blind the driver ahead of you.
- If an oncoming vehicle doesn’t lower beams from high to low, avoid glare by watching the right edge of the road and using it as a steering guide.
- Make frequent stops for light snacks and exercise. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible. Warn approaching traffic at once by setting up reflecting triangles near your vehicle and 300 feet behind it. Turn on flashers and the dome light. Stay off the roadway and get passengers away from the area.”Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- The dangers posed by drowsy teen drivers
- A study showing that poor sleep quality is responsible for many accidents among commercial truck drivers
- How graduated drivers licensing laws save lives
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