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Safe Night Driving: What to Do When You Usually Drive at Night

check engine light on the gauge panel of a car

Do you always drive at night? It is no secret that driving at night is riskier and more dangerous than driving during the daytime. Remember that there are so many factors you are fighting against when you drive at night—you’re fighting against low visibility, distracted drivers, and sleepiness. All the factors for an accident are present. It can be a challenge to avoid all these risks surrounding nighttime driving. And while the best thing to do is avoid driving in the dark, what should you do if you absolutely need to? You can’t very well never drive in the dark.

Keep Your Car Ready

Accidents happen all the time. The difference between being ready for it and not being prepared for it is miles apart, however. One of the worst things is to drive a heavily tinted car during the night. The roads are already dark enough but with the heavy tint in your windows, it’s almost impossible to see.

While tinted glasses are nice in the morning because they protect you from the sun, they’re your worst enemy at nighttime. Go to an auto window tinting shop and have your dark tints replaced with a light to medium tint. That’s all the protection you need against the sun. Dark tints are a no-no for cars on the road at night.

Be Extra Defensive

If you have attended driving school, what is the first law when driving? It’s to be defensive, right? At night, it is super important to be on the defense because drivers are extra drowsy and less alert. You have to be on the lookout for swaying cars. Try to avoid these cars because the drivers might not be in their right frame of mind. Take your defensive driving level up a notch. If you are driving in rural areas, be ready for large trees and wildlife that might suddenly pop in the middle of the road.

Clean the Windshield

Before backing away from your parking spot, clean your car’s windshield. At night, you’ll notice all the grime on the glass—from smudgy fingerprints to salt to squished bugs. Remove anything that might obscure your sight when driving. Remember that daylight isn’t on your side at nighttime, so you need to make sure you’re seeing the road clearly. All you have are your headlights, so make sure those are in working order, too.

foggy windshield

Remove Distractions Inside the Car

What is worse than texting while driving? Nothing. But the next worse thing is having other distractions inside the car such as food and the light emitted by dash cameras, GPS devices, dashboards, etc. Try to use the low-light setting for these because the brightness of the lights from these devices might hurt your eyes and distract you. Dimming these devices or turning them off when not needed will help remove the glare that these bring to the windshield. Your eyes will also adjust easily to the dark road in front of you.

Reduce Speed

Like many, you probably can’t wait to arrive at home. You might even want to push harder on the gas pedal. Fight the urge to do so. One of the worst things that can happen at nighttime is to put as little distance between you and the car in front of you. Tailgating will only result in accidents you could have otherwise avoided. Use the three-second rule. When the vehicle in front of you passes a landmark, for example, it should take you another three seconds to reach the same area. If it’s below three seconds, then you have to slow down.

Do Not Drink

After-work drinking is all too common. If you have plans to drink that night, either don’t take your car to work and simply ride the cab back home or ask someone to drive for you. Driving at nighttime is dangerous enough. If you add alcohol to the mix, that is four times riskier. If you didn’t drink, then watch out for drivers on the road who drive like they drunk one too many glasses of margarita. Keep your distance away from those cars. As your civic duty, you might also want to alert the police for drunken disorderly.

You can’t very well avoid driving at night. Whether you’re coming from work or social activity, it’s important for you to know how to drive safely at night. These few points will keep you safe and away from harm. Stick to these few simple rules and you’ll be a better night driver.

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