Driving at night presents many more dangers than driving during the day. Because your normal vision, peripheral vision and depth perception are severely compromised once the sun goes down, objects, people or vehicles that would have been observed well in advanced are now lurking in the dark space just in front of headlights. Night driving is also often responsible for fatigue and drowsiness, which dull concentration, further slowing your reaction time. So what can you do to prepare for a night on the road?
Take Care of Your Vehicle
- During your pre-trip inspection, thoroughly clean your headlights, tail lights, signal lights and windows (inside and out).
- Make sure your headlights are properly aimed. Headlights that are not properly adjusted can blind other drivers and/or reduce your ability to see the road.
Take Care of Yourself
- Get plenty of rest before driving at night. Especially if you are not usually awake during these hours.
- Since your reaction time will be slower due to reduced visual acuity, slow down AND increase your following distances.
- Avoid smoking when you drive. The nicotine and carbon monoxide may hinder your night vision.
- It may seem an obvious statement, but NO ALCOHOL. Not only do you risk being disqualified, but also alcohol is a depressant and just one drink can induce fatigue. (also keep in mind, not everyone on the road may understand or care about the effects of drinking on one’s driving ability)
- If you start to get tired, stop for light snacks and exercise if possible. If you are still to tired to drive, DON’T. Stop and get some rest.
NOTE: If you must stop on a roadway for any reason, pull off the road as far as possible, turn on your flashers and set up your reflective triangles.