September 20, 2016 by Minuteman Trucks
What Makes Night Driving Difficult?
- Poor Visibility – there is very less natural light on the road.
- People feel more sleepy during darkness than during daytime – it is universal that one tends to feel sleepier at night.
- Silence around makes one feel more drowsy – If you will be driving alone and late at night, chances are there will be fewer vehicles around. Silence on the road also makes you feel at ease and consequently sleepy.
- Roadway lighting is often very poor. In rural areas there is little or no overhead lighting and in urban locations the lighting may not only be poor but confusing as well due to neon signs and other distractions. The most dependable lighting will come from your own vehicle.
- People drink mostly at night – That’s true and implies to people around the world. For some of them its a habit, while for others its a party night.
- Direct & sharp light from the opposite vehicle hits the eyes of the driver and can lead to an accident do to temporary blindness.
- Those who have problem with their eyesight or suffer from night blindness driving at night is a major challenge.
Tips for Safe Driving at Night
- Condition of Other Drivers. Late in the evening and during the early morning hours is when you are most likely to meet fatigued or impaired drivers. Be alert for motorists that are driving aggressively or erratically during these times. Maintain a safe distance from these drivers and be prepared to stop. If a vehicle comes into your lane head-on, slow down and move your vehicle as far to the right as you can. Never take evasive action into an oncoming lane of traffic.
- Reduce Your Speed
- Fatigue, combined with less available light, reduces vision and reaction time. Reduce your speed when driving at night and especially on unfamiliar roads. Maintain a four second interval when following the vehicle ahead as a space cushion.
- Make sure your headlights are properly aimed. Check with your service provider or maintenance shop for the proper procedure. During your pre and post trip inspections make sure that your lights are operational and clean.
- Keep your headlights and windshield clean. Being able to see other cars and be seen by other drivers helps a lot! If it’s bug season, stop and wipe them off at each break.
- Don’t overdrive your headlights. Especially when driving on smaller roads without reflector strips, follow a four-second rule. Take note of where the far reach of your low beams are, then count four seconds. If you pass that original place in less than four seconds, then you are going too fast. Two to three seconds may be an acceptable range for major highways with reflector strips. Remember that posted speed limits are for driving in daylight with dry road conditions.
- Use high beams wisely. The use of high-beam headlights when there isn’t oncoming traffic can extend the time that you have to react to hazards. Never use your high beams because the high beams of the oncoming car stay on. This will only increase the chances of a head-on crash.
- Don’t look at oncoming headlights. Focus on the edges of oncoming traffic and bright objects, as staring directly into headlights can blind you for up to five seconds until your eyes adjust.
- Look around. Keep your eyes moving from side to side, rather than focusing only on the center-line and the road ahead, to help your eyes stay adjusted to the dark and avoid falling victim to “highway hypnosis,” a state in which reaction time is greatly impaired.
- Wear sunglasses during the day. Wearing sunglasses during bright days helps keep your eyes more sensitive for driving in the dark.
- If you’re tired, get off the road and sleep. If you feel sleepy, caffeine can never be a substitute for sleep, nor is loud music or rolling down the windows. Pull over and rest, and stop every two hours for a break out of your vehicle even if you’re not feeling sleepy. Don’t set out on a trip tired.