The days are shorter and the nights are longer during this time of year. This means that at least your evening commute happens in the dark. You may already know that driving at night increases the risk of an accident.
More of the road remains unseen at night, and headlights and streetlights could make the problem worse. Your eyes may not adjust fast enough from light to dark. For this reason, you adjust your driving habits to make sure that you reach your destination safely.
Making these adjustments could help
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that your risk of a fatal crash increases by a factor of three to four times at night. Keeping the following tips in mind could save your life and the lives of everyone else on the road:
- The darkness tends to make people sleepier. If you are already tired, this could compound it, which makes driving dangerous.
- If you can avoid two-lane highways at night, you should, especially if there is no median separating the opposing lanes of travel.
- Make sure you properly align your headlights in order to increase your field of vision.
- Make sure your interior lights, such as those on your dashboard, are not so bright that they occlude your vision of the outside of the vehicle.
- Watch out for animals. Some animals, such as deer, tend to be more active when it's dark.
- Test all of your exterior lights often.
- Pay extra attention while driving at night. You may not have much time to react to an emergency since you may not be able to see it until it's close.
- Make sure all of your windows are as clean as possible. Streaked or dirty windows narrow, obstruct or distort you view.
- Drive slower at night to give yourself more time to react.
- When it's safe, use your high beams to give you a wider area of visibility.
- Make sure not to look directly into the headlights of an oncoming vehicle since doing so could temporarily blind you.
- If you need glasses to drive, wear them.
You should also avoid any distractions while driving, which is good advice regardless of the time of day. You may already follow these tips, but that certainly doesn't mean that everyone will. If you do end up in an accident at night due to another driver's negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for the financial losses you incur in connection with the crash.