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November 18, 2016

5 Safety Tips for Driving at Night

Regardless of how the weather is, night driving can be extremely hazardous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 49% of fatal accidents occur at night. The night-time can pose many challenges such as: restrictions in our depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision. Stay safe on the road when night falls by keeping these 5 safety tips in mind.

1. Get a good night's sleep

Feeling fatigued and tired while driving through what may seem like an abyss of darkness, is the formula for a disaster waiting to happen. Sleep deprivation decreases your reaction time, judgment and decision making ability, which may play a role in behavior that can lead to fatal crashes. Hence, be well rested before going on a nighttime excursion. If you begin to feel sleepy, stop for a little while in a well-lit area. This is a good way to stay refreshed before heading back onto the road.

2. Don't stare directly at the lights

It can be very tempting to look at the oncoming headlights, but staring will impair your night vision for a while. Instead, slow down and try to steer your eyes towards the left side of the oncoming vehicle to avoid being temporarily blinded by another driver's headlights. At times, the other vehicles may have their bright headlights on, feel free to signal them that it is impairing your vision but do not put your bright lights on just to get back at them. This would run the risk of you blinding them and increase the chances for a head-on collision.

3. Be aware of night-time wildlife

If you've ever heard the "deer in the headlights" expression, you'll understand why being mindful of wildlife is crucial to safe driving. The nocturnal animals have retinas that are fully dilated to help capture as much light as possible in the darkness. Therefore, when the car headlights strike their eyes, they aren't able to see anything, which leads them to freeze in place until their eyes are able to adjust and could result in an accident. Animals like deer and cattle can be found in rural and urban areas. If you ever do come in contact with an animal, try to slow down as much as you can without having to swerve and make sure you have full control of your steering wheel. A mindful tip to remember is that deer travel in groups, so keep in mind this simple rule: "Where there's one, there's many." Just because the roads appear to be lonely, it doesn't always mean that they are.

4. Share the road

Not only are you sharing the road with wildlife, but note that all sorts of people are also out on the road during the night. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that the involvement of drunk driving in fatal crashes is four times higher at night than during the day. Hence, it's vital to take extra caution when you're crossing at any intersection, including at lights because it is not always easy to spot a drunk driver on the road.

5. Reduce window glare

During the day, a hazy mark on your window won't be very bothersome, but during the night, it can be a danger to your driving. The streaks left from dirty window wipers can reflect the markings on your front windshield. To avoid smudges, make sure that your windows are always clean and refrain from touching it directly. The oils on your fingers are known to leave marks on the glass that can be stubborn to come off and other times are a distraction when light shines onto it during the night. Instead, have a microfiber cloth handy and keep your windows clean regardless of whether or not it bothers you during the day. Keep in mind that it's important to have as much clarity as you can get.

Following these simple tips could help reduce the chances of a catastrophic event happening. Be sure to practice safe driving and be aware of your surroundings at all times! Most importantly, make sure you are always protected in case of an accident. Get a quote with A-MAX Auto Insurance and make the drive that much better.


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