Are you worried about driving at night? If not, you should be. Accidents are far more likely to happen at night–usually because of poor visibility or impaired drivers on the road. If you have to drive at night, keep these tips in mind to stay safe on the road.
Optimize Your Vehicle’s Visibility
You can’t do anything about the other drivers on the road, but you can make sure you can see as well as possible when you’re driving in the dark.
- Clean your windshield. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it can make all the difference in your ability to see hazards before you hit them when driving in low light.
- Replace your windshield wipers. Old, ineffective windshield wipers can be a disaster for visibility–especially when it’s dark out. If your wipers don’t leave a streak-free finish when it rains, consider replacing them.
- Polish or replace your headlights. If you have older headlights that just aren’t lighting up the road well, it might be time to upgrade your headlight assembly. You could also opt to replace the bulb and polish up your headlight’s lens; polishing kits are readily available at auto parts stores and can make a huge difference in your ability to see the road in the dark.
Optimize Your Vision
Doing what you can to keep your own eyesight at peak performance can also help improve your confidence and safety when driving at night. Our tips:
- Protect your eyes. When driving in bright sunlight, wear sunglasses–prescription sunglasses, if necessary! Avoiding eye strain and eye fatigue will help ensure you can see well when the sun sets.
- Keep your prescription current. If your eyeglass or contact prescription is more than 1-2 years old or if you feel that your vision has changed since your last eye exam, make an appointment now!
- Be realistic about your eyesight. If you’re severely vision impaired and/or just don’t feel like you can see well at night, don’t risk it. Plan your trips during daylight hours only, and call a friend or a taxi if you have to get somewhere after sunset.
Driving defensively is always a smart move, but it’s even more important when hitting the roads at night.
- Slow down. Make sure that you’re not outdriving your headlights–driving faster than you’d be able to stop by the time your headlights illuminated an obstacle in your way. How fast would you be driving during daylight hours? Cut that by 5-10 mph or more, depending on driving conditions and your comfort level.
- Constantly keep your eyes moving. Watch side streets and intersections carefully as you approach, and keep an eye out for movement–not just light. Many accidents occur thanks to a car with no headlights, pedestrian, bicycle, or animal approaching from the side. Keeping your eyes moving can also help keep you awake and alert.
- Stay on well-traveled, well-lit roads. You might know a great shortcut through Wisconsin back roads that shaves ten minutes off your trip, but sticking to more well-traveled routes is a smarter choice at night. This is especially true when you’re driving in inclement weather.