The dangers of driving at night can’t really be overstated. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), drivers are at three times the risk of being in a fatal accident when it’s dark than when it’s light.
But there are several precautions you can take to greatly reduce the risk of being involved in an accident that leads to severe injuries – or worse.
The following are just a few tips to make it safer for you to drive in the dark. If you are ever in an accident caused by someone else – whether it happens while driving at night or in the daytime – get in touch with Sand Law as soon as you can. Our car accident attorneys will get to the bottom of why your accident occurred, and work to help you get every penny to which you’re entitled.
Stay on the Defensive
When people drink socially, they tend to do so in the nighttime hours. But that’s not the only reason to be extra vigilant when you’re on the road after the sun goes down. There’s also a greater likelihood that someone will be driving while on powerful drugs, or impaired in some other way.
This doesn’t mean you should always move over to the right lane and crawl along at 20 or 30 miles an hour. Don’t drive scared, but be observant. Pay a little closer attention to those who are sharing the road with you, and give them a little more space than you normally would. Be on the lookout for any sort of erratic moves, such as weaving in and out of lanes. Have a plan in place to get away from trouble if it should arise.
Pull Over If You’re Tired
Drowsy driving is just as bad as drunk driving. If you’ve put in a longer day than usual at the office, nodding off behind the wheel will obviously be a recipe for disaster.
Don’t hesitate to pull off of the road if you feel extremely fatigued. Get to a convenience store and buy a soda, and maybe a candy bar – something that will give you the energy needed to get back home as safely as possible. Of course, don’t try to navigate eating or drinking while you’re driving, because that’s a huge safety risk as well. Wait until you’re finished before you get back on the road.
Don’t Drive Drunk
Far too many people decide to get behind the wheel after they’ve consumed alcohol. In 2020, 394 people died on Minnesota roads – 79 of those fatalities occurred due to drunk driving accidents.
If you’ve had a few drinks, either call a taxi or a ridesharing service. Hopefully, you planned ahead and you have a designated driver. Whatever you do, it will be better than driving while drunk. The potential risks simply aren’t worth it.
Make Sure Your View is Clear
If you have a damaged or dirty windshield, it’s never a good idea to drive, regardless of the time of day it might be. But it’s even more dangerous to do so at night. The reason is that it can scatter light in a way that greatly increases glare. Not only that, it could even create glare for oncoming motorists. Make sure your windshield windows (and your side- and rear-view mirrors, for that matter) are clean, and get them repaired if they’ve been damaged in any way.
Use High Beams When Appropriate
When it’s hard to see very far in front of you at night, the natural reaction would be to turn on your high beams. While that’s good in some cases, in others it can actually make things worse – not only for you, but other drivers as well.
If you’re on an open road and it’s pitch black, hit your high beams when needed. But go back to your regular lights when another driver is coming in the opposite direction. A good rule of thumb is to do this when the other car gets within 500 feet of your car. If you’re following someone, leave the bright lights off. Not only will your high beams be very annoying to that motorist, it could distract them to the point where they make a mistake and an accident occurs.
Again, you don’t want to crawl in the slow lane because you’re so paranoid about driving at night. But you should slow down to a safe speed. Not only is it harder to see the road in front of you, it will also be more difficult for you to spot cars on either side of your vehicle, or objects that might be on the pavement.
Basically, the faster you drive, the less time you’ll have to react to sudden changes. If you have a harder time seeing your surroundings, going too fast will only magnify the risks. Always drive to the conditions. Take it even slower when it’s raining, or a winter storm is blowing through.
Dim Your Interior Lighting
Some people find that looking at their bright dashboard lights, and then looking out to a dark road, can be a little disorienting. Try to dim those lights so that you can still see your speedometer, gas gauge and other gauges, yet they’re not so bright that they’re a distraction. It might not seem like that big a deal, but it could actually help you avoid a potentially serious accident.
Contact Sand Law if You’ve Been Involved in a Nighttime Driving Accident
Hopefully, these tips for driving at night will help you stay safe, and get to your destination without any problems. Unfortunately, that won’t guarantee that others on the road will be as conscientious.
If you’re in a wreck caused by a negligent driver, get in touch with the experienced vehicle accident attorneys with Sand Law. We have a great deal of experience in personal injury cases, and we also have a strong track record of success. Our team will work to help you obtain full and fair compensation for your damages.