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Safety always matters when you’re behind the wheel, but there are some moments when it’s essential to take extra precautions when driving, including at night. Between lack of visibility, fatigue, and other compromised drivers on the road, it can be risky to drive at night. According to the National Safety Council, “Traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day.” As a car insurance agency, we want to give you all the tips you need to drive safely, which is we’ve compiled a few tips for driving at night.

Clean Your Windshield

The dirt on your windshield is more than just annoying- it can be harmful. When sunlight or car lights hit the dirt just right, it can cause blinding glare that inhibits your vision while driving. This tip goes for the inside of your car too. Dust can collect on the inside of your windshield, causing the same effect.

Check Your Lights

Ensure your lights are not only working but are correctly aimed as well. Visibility at night is crucial, but be sure not to blind other drivers with your headlights by aiming them incorrectly. Your turning signal lights are equally important to alert the drivers around you of an upcoming turn. Checking these basic functions of your vehicle can help you avoid an unfortunate accident.

Don’t Look Into the Light.

Don’t look into the light of the oncoming traffic; it’s blinding! To avoid being temporarily blinded by the headlights of approaching traffic, temporarily gaze down and to the right while focusing on the white line. This technique allows you to keep attentive on the road while protecting your eyesight.

Increase Distance and Reduce Speed

It’s late, and you just want to get home, but slow down so you can get there safely. Reduce your speed and avoid tailgating. Even with high-beam headlights on, visibility is limited to about 500 feet (250 feet for regular headlights), creating less time to react to something in the road, especially when driving at higher speeds. Here are two ways to know you are driving too close to the car ahead of you: You would be unable to stop within the illuminated area safely, and you are less than three seconds behind them.

Be Seen on the Side of the Road

Hopefully, you do not find yourself in the situation that you are stuck on the side of the road, but if you do- illuminate your space. Carry reflective triangles in your car, turn on your hazard lights, turn on the dome light in your vehicle, or make use of flashlights. Do what you can to ensure that other drivers see a car present on the roadside when it is dark out. The safest option while waiting on help is to always remain in your car when possible.  

Watch for Pedestrians

Just as you want to be seen if you’re on the side of the road, so do pedestrians and bike riders. Not all pedestrians wear reflective safety gear making it more difficult to see them at night. Always take extra time to look out for pedestrians on the roadside or are stepping off a curb at night, particularly if the road is poorly lit.

Don’t Be Distracted.

You see the ads and awareness videos telling you to pay attention to the road when driving. This is always an important rule, but particularly at night. Our reaction times are reduced after a long day, and one glance at your phone could mean several seconds that your eyes are not looking at the road. The best idea is to put the phone away and concentrate on getting home safely.

Don’t Drink and Drive.

It is never safe to drink and drive, but studies show that alcohol-related driving incidents happen most often at night. Fatal alcohol-related accidents are four times higher at night than during the day. Keep yourself and others safe by not recklessly drinking and driving. You can designate a sober driver or make use of a ride-share app like Lyft or Uber. If you notice an intoxicated driver on the road, practice defensive driving techniques and keep your distance.

At Thomson Smith & Leach, we’re a car insurance agency that cares about protecting what matters most to you, and that includes keeping you and your family safe on the road. We’re here for all of your personal auto insurance needs. Get a free consultation today!