Dangerous Night Driving in Winter
It’s that time of the year…
Even if we drive less at night, about half of all deadly car crashes happen when it is dark. Which means that the risk of being in a severe crash is significantly higher at night.
Most of your driving decisions are based on what we see. Since we cannot see as well when it is dark, driving at night — or in bad weather — is always more dangerous.
The fact that it is less traffic at night, doesn’t make it safer to drive at night.
The most dangerous time to drive is between the hours of midnight and 6 am, especially on the weekends. More fatal crashes occur on Friday and Saturday nights than any other night.
If you think that alcohol has something to do with it, you are right. There are more drunk drivers on the road on Friday and Saturday nights. And as we know, drunk drivers are one of the main causes behind car crashes.
Therefore, you must take extra care when driving at night.
Don’t Drink and Drive
For starters, never drive after you have been drinking alcohol. When you drink alcohol, safe driving is simply not possible. Your driving skills are severely decreased — with poor visibility, they are even worse.
Many people simply don’t realize that the combination of the two is extremely dangerous.
Alcohol slows down your reaction time. It also reduces your ability to see clearly, which is especially dangerous when it is dark outside and you are exposed to glare from headlights or street lights.
Furthermore, alcohol changes your judgment of speed and distances. When you see less clearly this gets even worse. At the same time, alcohol makes you more prone to take chances.
You think you drive better than you do.
Keep Your Speed Down at Night
When you drive at night, reduce speed, be alert and allow for more safety margins than you would during daylight. This includes increasing the following distance to any vehicles ahead.
Another important rule for safe night driving is to never overdrive your headlights. The range of your headlights is about 350 feet.
If your headlights illuminate the road about four seconds ahead of you, you must make sure you can stop within those four seconds. This is called driving within the range of your headlights.
In other words, you must make sure that you are always able to stop within the distance you can see ahead.
You should remember that pedestrians are more vulnerable in the dark than in the daylight. If you drive too fast, you may not see them before it is too late.
Make Sure You Don’t Drive When You Are Tired
Be aware of drowsy and fatigue driving at night. You don’t drive as well when you are tired. As with drugs and alcohol, drowsiness behind the wheel can contribute to a traffic crash.
You should always use proper defensive driving techniques, including keeping your eyes moving. Scanning the road ahead, behind, and to the sides helps you keep alert.
If you feel tired, pull over in a safe place and rest.