Open Road

6 tips for driving safely in the dark

With long, sunny summer days slowly dwindling away, the crisp fall season brings longer nighttime hours. The early darkness might make you feel drowsy slightly earlier in the day than you noticed during the summer. You might even be driving home from work after dark now as well. There are many factors that can be compromised from driving in the dark such as depth perception, peripheral vision and ability to distinguish color. So as the days become shorter until that glorious winter solstice just after the middle of December, keep in mind the importance of driving safely during the night. Check out these 6 tips for safely driving in the dark!

1. Dim Your Instrument Panel & Dashboard Lights

Make sure you keep your eyes off of oncoming headlights as they can blind you momentarily. Lights shining elsewhere in the car such as on the dashboard or a reading light in the passenger seat can also compromise your forward vision. Keep your dashboard as dim as possible so that you're able to see the road clearly and other drivers won't be blinded either.

2. Scan the Road

Keep your eyes moving while you're driving – never focus on just one point. Depth perception isn't as keen after the sun has gone down, and our eyes might become dry and tired because we're trying to concentrate more.

3. Aim Your Headlights

We often overlook the possibility that our headlights are aligned incorrectly. Make sure they're aimed properly in order to see directly in front of you and not blind drivers in front of you.
It's also important to know what to look for when you're driving at night. If you're driving through the country, your headlights might bounce off of the retina of wild animals. Keep an eye out for their glowing eyes on the side of the road.

4. Increase Your Following Distance

To play it safe, it's a good idea to leave a little bit more space between you and the car you're behind. Keep in mind that nighttime driving isn't just more challenging for you – it's also more challenging for other motorists on the road. If they don't see something until the last minute or if an animal darts out in front of them causing them to slam on their brakes, keeping your distance will allow more time for you to stop.

5. Wipe Your Windshield with Newspaper

During the day, it's likely that your windshield appears clean. When you have the glare of oncoming headlights hitting your windshield though, you might start to notice smudges and streaks that can be incredibly distracting at night. Try wiping the inside of your windshield using newspaper to eliminate this issue.

6. Take a Nap

If you're feeling tired, it's a good idea to find a safe spot to park and take a quick nap. Daylight saving time – whether you're gaining an hour in the fall or losing one in the spring – throws off the body's circadian rhythm. When your sleep cycle is disrupted, you're likely to become drowsy.

According to auto accident attorneys at Kramer Law Group, one of the most commonly seen causes of a crash is drunk driving. While you may not be driving under the influence of alcohol, keep in mind that other nighttime motorists may not be as wise. Stay especially attentive and alert while you're on the road after dark.

Share This Photo X