Safer night time driving: Six tips to remember
Night time driving can be stressful. You have to be much more vigilant and cautious, especially when the seasons change. The sun goes down earlier and conditions become riskier. And when driving in bad weather or on rough terrain, your driving habits need to adapt to the extra challenge. We’ve put together some important tips that can help you avoid accidents and give you some peace of mind.
1. Keep your windshield clean
Even though you might not notice it during the day, dust and fingerprints can really affect your visibility when driving at night, making it more dangerous. Reflections from oncoming headlights can momentarily blind you and distract you on the road. Before leaving, take the time to clean the outside of the windshield with your wipers, and the inside with some window cleaner.
2. Avoid distractions
When driving at night, lower the intensity of your dashboard lights to avoid having them interfere with the more essential lights outside. Don’t use your cell phone, and if you absolutely must make a call or send a text message, take the time to park safely beforehand. Texting at the wheel is the second highest cause of mortality on the road, killing hundreds of Canadians each year. Just a minute of not paying attention can upend lives.
3. Tired? Put the keys away!
If you feel tired, if you’re short on sleep, or if you feel a cold coming on, don’t get behind the wheel. Not only is it dangerous for you, but driving in this state can be deadly for others who share the road with you. Plus, contrary to popular belief, an energy drink doesn’t make you more alert. A sound night’s sleep does.
4. Adjust your headlights correctly
Poorly positioned headlights can inconvenience other drivers by creating a glare that blinds them. Plus, they don’t light the road properly. A potential obstacle may catch your eye too late and cause an accident. Before hitting the road, check that your headlights are properly aligned. It doesn’t take much time, but it makes a big difference on the road.
5. Drive a little slower
If you drive on an unlit road at night, your range of vision goes only as far as your headlights reach. If you drive too fast, your low beams won’t cover enough distance to make an emergency stop. Make it a point to drive slower than the daytime speed limit so that you have more time to react if something suddenly appears from the darkness.
6. Take breaks
It’s a good rule of thumb to take a break every two hours. Keep in mind that the moment your eyes get itchy, your neck becomes stiff, or you get irritable, you’re experiencing the beginnings of fatigue and should get off the road for a bit. Coffee is not the solution either. It doesn’t actually make you any less tired, it just temporarily hides your fatigue.
If you take the right precautions, driving at night can be a pleasure. If you’re leaving on a long trip or if you have an older car, be sure to bring it into a garage for a check up before setting off. And, if you drive at night in the wintertime, be sure to take a moment to read our article on driving in winter!
However, if you can avoid driving at night, you could save money on your car insurance with belairdirect. If you use automerit® – a program that rewards safe driving – avoiding driving between 2:00 and 5:00 a.m. will help improve your Safety Score, which counts towards your belairdirect automerit® discount!