Even if you think you’re Mario Andretti when behind the wheel of your suped-up sedan, driving at night still poses different challenges than driving during the day.
Once the sun goes down, traffic death rates rise. Yet, there are many people who are unaware of the risks driving at night poses, or even the proper ways to handle them. Despite there being significantly less traffic during nighttime hours, vision is incredibly limited.
The dramatic difference that darkness can make on your ability to cope with some of the most normal driving conditions is surprising. For instance, the color and contrast, as well as the peripheral vision that is on hand during the day gets diminished. This leaves drivers vulnerable to unsafe situations on the road.
We know driving in the dark can be annoying, especially when you’re tired, but it’s the dangerous part we’d like to help you out with.
Here are seven of our finest tips to make your night travels safer and better.
Even the newest cars can sometimes have their headlights pointed lower than you need them to be. If possible, make sure to aim them correctly. And be patient! It may take some time to get them in the position you desire and ensure that they are not blinding oncoming traffic while on the road.
If you happen to have an older car, try and clean the grime off of your headlights from time to time so that they shine brightly.
2. Dim the Lights
Do you really want to compromise your forward vision? If not, make sure to dim the lights on your dashboard before driving to avoid stray reflections. While it’s efficient to be able to see how fast you’re going or how far you have to go until hitting empty, it’s best to keep interior lighting to a minimum.
3. Don’t Wear Your Sunglasses at Night
Yeah, you may look cool sporting your Ray Bans while the sun is out and shining but that doesn’t mean you need to wear them while the stars are out. If you absolutely must wear lenses while driving, the smart choice would be to use some that have anti-reflective coating, which allow more light in.
4. Watch Out for Animals!
You’ve probably had a close call with wildlife at some point in time while cruising along the highway. Whenever driving along dark roads, be sure to keep an eye out for the reflection of their eyes. You can usually see their eyes way before they have the opportunity to hit your windshield. Hopefully, you are able to steer clear before it gets close. Hitting any animal with your car poses a danger not only to your safety but also the animal and your car!
5. Don’t Become Distracted by Someone Else’s Lights
Staring head on into another driver’s headlights can really screw up your concentration when trying to drive at night. Since your eyes are adjusted to the dim lighting of the instrument panel and seemingly dark road ahead, staring into the headlights of an oncoming vehicle is sure to distract you. If someone behind you happens to have their high beams on and they are blinding you in your rear-view mirror, make sure to reflect that light right back at them and let them know they are messing with your vision.
6. Keep Some Newspaper on Hand
Many people don’t know that cleaning off your windshield with newspaper helps polish glass and remove residue. Don’t ever try and clean off any of the inside surfaces of your car with your hands. The oils from your skin will smear all over the glass and cause a horrible glare.
7. Clean Up Your Exterior Mirrors
You don’t want lights from other cars behind you messing with your vision. To avoid this, try and keep both mirrors clean! There’s nothing like trying to merge over while on the freeway and not being able to see if there’s a car next to you.
As long as you play it safe, you can take charge while behind the wheel and not have to worry about paying a visit to the repair shop…or worse.