How to Drive Safely at Night: 10 Critical Tips

It is obvious that driving at night is more dangerous than during any other time of day, if not the most dangerous.

In fact, according to National Safety Council, the risk driving at night has 3 times higher than during any other time and around 49 percent of fatal car accidents are during night time.

Moreover, many drivers has felt less confident while they have to drive at night, even in cases that they do not have night blindness or related vision problems.

Thus, knowing the technique of driving safely at night may be more important than you think. In this article, we will introduce top 10 most important tips that help to eliminate the danger of driving at night.

Before driving at night, avoid things that make you feel drowsy

It is obvious that falling asleep or feeling sleepy will increase the possibility of having accidents during your driving. Thus, make sure to do things that you help you stay awake during your driving.

The first is to make sure you have rested well before driving at night. Lack of sleep and rest is usually the main sources of drowsy driving accidents.

Second,  avoid taking medicines that make you drowsy.

Third, you might not know that things that you eat also could make you drowsy. In fact, research has shown that meals with high level of fats or carbohydrates are associated with feeling sleepy. Therefore, before driving at night, avoid eating imbalanced food.

And finally, you should have coffee or other caffeine products before driving. Research shows that drinking two cups of coffee (or equivalent amount) could help you stay away from “sleep attack” for an hour.

Ensure your headlights clean and correctly aimed

Headlights are one of the most important determinants of your night driving safety. If your car headlights are in not good condition, your risks of having an accident are significantly increased since you could hardly see ahead while driving at night with un-proper working headlights.  

However, car headlights, even in brand-new ones, are usually angled lower to the ground or aligned unevenly. If aimed incorrectly, even brightest headlights in the world would be not useful for illuminating the road in front of you. Hence, it is necessary to have your headlights re-adjusted. You could do that at a professional mechanic’s shop, this service is usually quite quick and cheap. If you would like to adjust headlights yourself, make sure to strictly follow the instructions in your car’s owner’s manual. In addition, you should be patient since there will be a few trials before your car headlights are perfectly aimed.

Beside, even in cases that your car lights are correctly aimed, if there are something blocking these lights, these could cast a dim glow. Thus, make sure to keep your headlights clean by washing them frequently. By doing this, you will ensure the high brightness and clarity of your car headlights. In addition, if plastic lens covers turn yellowed or faded, you should buy a headlight polish kit to remove the haze so your lights shine through brightly.

Moreover, you should also frequently check the amount of lights that your headlights produce since bulbs have gradually made less and less lights. If one of your headlights burns out or if it does not produce enough amounts of lights, you should replace it as soon as possible during the day. If you could not do that, avoid driving at night.

Ensure clean windows and clean exterior mirrors

You need to ensure clean windows and clean exterior to avoid glare and condensation increase at night. Even during day time, everything seems clean, but at night, glare and condensation still exists. So, do not touch windows and exterior with your hands, even in case you would like to wipe of mist since the oil from your skins will be the main cause of glare. Instead, clean windows and exterior mirrors by a cotton or microfiber cloth.

Ensure to use your high-beam lights correctly

It is important to take into account that your car’s high-beam lights could both negatively and positively affects on your safety while driving at night. High-beam lights could magnificently boost your safety if you use them correctly. Otherwise, they would increase the possibility of having accidents. High-beam lights should be used only if there is not much traffic. When driving in very dark, low-visibility areas with less traffic, you could use high-beams to make your vision much wider and deeper. Yet, when you are in areas with much traffic or when there is oncoming traffic, bright lights of high-beams could distract other drivers, which in turn lead to the increase in likelihood of having accidents. Thus, make sure to turn off your high-beam lights when following another car or when being in much traffic areas. Also, make sure to turn your high-beams off when you start to see the faint glow of another car’s headlights in a corner or over a hilltop or from around the bend; by doing this, you will help other drivers not suddenly blinded, and hence, helping them and you to drive more safely at night.

Don’t stare at the incoming lights.

When you drive at nights, your eyes have already been adapted to the dim environment of the dark road ahead. Thus, bright lights from the environment such as road sign lights or headlights of other cars will absolutely disrupt your concentration and make you distracted. This issue is more serious than you think since you do not even realizing  that you just keep on staring at incoming lights. Thus, try to turn your glance away from other lights on the road. You should glance to the right hand side of your lane (if you are in countries that drive on the right side of the road) since doing this both preserves your vision and keeps you notice of the hazards around you. In above section, we already mentioned that other drivers should always dim their high-beams when they see you, just as you would do this for them. Unfortunately, drivers always keep on forgetting to do this. Thus, what you could do to protect yourself is to avoid looking at bright lights, especially high-beams of an incoming car. If a car behind you is using high-beams, you should adjust your rear view mirrors so that you will not directly look at the lights or you could even move the mirror so that the lights will be shined back at the behind driver to alert him or her about his or her mistake.

Consider adding fog lights

If you have to drive a lot at night and in foggy conditions, you should consider adding low-to-the-ground fog lights. These lights help to illuminate as much of the road ahead as possible under foggy conditions. However, you need to discuss with automotive expert for choosing the most suitable fog lights for your cars. Do not purchase and install fog lights without advice from experts, since it might increase your driving dangers rather than increasing your safety. It is also very important to take into account that you should NEVER use your high-beams in the fog since your high-beams would be shined back at you, which in turn obscures your vision of the road more than if you do not use any high-beam lights at all.

Reduce your speed during your night drive

Since there are more dangerous when driving at night time than when driving at day time, it is obvious that you should reduce your speed when driving at night. There are two main reasons for doing this. First, at night, even with headlights, your vision of what is ahead of you on the road is not as wide and clear as your vision at day time. Second, during night time, your reaction speech would be slower than it is during day time. Therefore, a lower speed will very important in ensuring a safe drive during night time.

Ensure to take frequent breaks during your night driving

If you have to drive for a rather long distance at night, taking frequent breaks will be a good choice for you to increase your safety. If you feel so sleepy and have troubles in keeping your eyes open, you could just simply find a rest stop and get some sleep. It is much better than continuing driving with the risks of falling asleep at the wheel (even just for a few minutes). Taking frequent breaks will help you more focus when driving, and hence, will reduce the possibility of having accidents. Moreover, frequent breaks would sometimes give you opportunities to relax, to contact with people and things that you would not have during day time. For example, there are many unique night-life-activities in almost all big city centers. Even in rural areas, there are some unique late-night “flavors”. If you need to drive for a long distance at night, you should have ample opportunities to stop and enjoy those activities. In fact, the National Safety Council recommends that you should stop every two hours to rest. Doing this will make your driving more interesting and safety simultaneously.

Keep your eyes moving

The relatively quiet and calm environment of night driving is the main cause of the “spacing out”, which means that your reaction possibility and speed will be significantly decreased because of this distracted state. This, it is very important to stay focus during night driving. Try to keep your eyes moving in order to scan the road condition constantly. Remember to frequently glance at road sides and mirrors to ensure your surrounding awareness.

Keep your eyes healthy

Healthy eyes will help you reducing the effect of eye fatigue during your night driving. You should ensure to have your eyes checked every three years if you are less than 40 years old and every two years if you are from 40 to 60 years old, and every year if you are above 60.
Above are 10 most critical tips for you to drive safely at night. If you could ensure all to be done, you will feel more confident in your night driving and of course, will drive safely.

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