Lack of light, compromised night vision, rush hour, impaired drivers and fatigue all contribute to making driving at night more dangerous than during any other time of day.
What should you do to combat darkness?
- Aim your headlights correctly, and make sure they’re clean
- Dim your dashboard
- Look away from oncoming lights
- If you wear glasses, make sure they’re anti-reflective
- Clean the windshield to eliminate streaks
- Slow down to compensate for limited visibility and reduced stopping time
While we do only one quarter of our driving at night, 50 percent of traffic deaths happen at night. It doesn’t matter whether the road is familiar or not, driving at night is always more dangerous.
About 35,500 people were killed in car crashes in 2013, according to Injury Facts 2015. By taking some extra precautions, we can all contribute to reducing these numbers.
Keep it Clean
Make sure that your headlights, taillights and turn signals are clean (and of course, clear of ice and snow), and ensure that your mirrors are also clean and properly adjusted. This can help maximize your ability to see what’s going on around you.Additionally, cleaning your windshield and windows with newspaper will help remove streaks that compromise your visibility at night, according to Popular Mechanics. Once your windows are clean, try to avoid touching them or wiping them off with your bare hand, since your skin’s oil can smear and create a glare when light shines in. Instead, keep a clean cloth in your glove box or center console, so you’ll have it handy when your windshield needs cleaning.
Keep Your Eyes from Getting Fatigued
After driving for a while, it’s easy to get locked into that nearly zen-like state of staring blankly at the road. This is probably what causes those little illusions where it seems like the road is moving. While it’s not easy to find other things to look at when you’re driving through, say, the heart of Kansas, most roads have other things you can look at along the way. Keep your eyes moving and look at as many other things as you can in the dark while still keeping them on the road. This prevents your eyes from getting fatigued. It’s the same basic idea as the 20-20-20 rule for computer eye strain.