How to Be Safe when Driving at Night

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Last Updated: Sep 9, 2020

There’s nothing like the quiet, open road at night. Whether you’re cruising through the dimly lit countryside or enjoying the bright lights of the city on your journey, there’s something special about hitting the road after the sun goes down.

It’s also a great time to travel if you’re looking to avoid busy highways and bustling cities, which may make it seem like a safer time to drive. However, driving at night comes with its own risks, such as lack of visibility, intoxicated drivers coming home from the bar, and your own fatigue.

4 Safety Tips For Driving At Night

Here are a few tips to stay safe when hitting the road at night.

Take the safest route

If you’re a regular night driver, you may want to map out the best routes to get to your destination.

Avoiding two-lane roads without a divider can increase your safety at night, as the headlights of oncoming traffic can be blinding or create glare on a dirty windshield, and the risk of a driver swerving into your lane is greater without a strong median.

Consider taking another route to work the night shift, or when cruising the road with friends on a Friday night.

Get the lighting right

Be prepared for nighttime driving by making sure your lights are ready to go. Check them regularly – fog lights, high beams, brake lights, and turn signals included – to make sure they’re in working order.

Your headlights should also be at the appropriate angle, not too high or too low that they do not illuminate the road properly. This can be tested during your next visit to the mechanic, or you can check them at home by aiming them at a wall and checking the angle. If they are too high, they will blind other drivers. If they are too low, they will only illuminate the road and not what’s in front of you.

High beams are one of the most crucial lights for late-night driving, particularly on country roads where there are very few streetlights. Be sure to always switch them off when an oncoming vehicle is within 500 feet, as not to decrease their visibility.

You can also adjust your interior lights during nighttime drives. If the lights on your dashboard are too bright, they can be distracting or disorienting.

Look for signs of life

When driving at night, everything on the road becomes a little less visible, such as pedestrians and wildlife. Continually scan the road for animals in the distance, such as deer grazing in a field, or children playing on a street corner.

To be sure you’re able to react in time should an animal or pedestrian find its way into your path, slow down on the road at night and give yourself time to process and adjust your driving to the situation.

Learn how to drive defensively, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory, and are unsure what challenges are ahead of you on the road.

Stay alert

When the sun goes down, our bodies are programmed to increase our levels of melatonin and as a result, we get sleepy. Even if you’re working the nightshift on a regular basis, you may find yourself drowsy at night without the light of the sun to alert your body that it’s time to be awake.

Being drowsy behind the wheel can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence, so be sure to keep yourself alert and energized on your next late-night drive. Call a friend, grab a cup of coffee, and take breaks when necessary.

Even the safest, most defensive drivers can find themselves in an accident, especially at the hands of a less responsible driver. If you’ve been in an accident, a St. Louis car accident lawyer can help you receive the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

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