There are two kinds of drivers: those who think that driving at night is unsafe and dangerous and those who claim that it is much easier to drive at night when cars turn on their headlights and roads and traffic signs are illuminated.
Unfortunately, they both can be equally wrong. On the one hand, the traffic illumination may provide a false sense of safety, and at some point, you may fail to notice an object that is not lit. On the other hand, driving at night is not more dangerous than any other time of the day. It requires concentration, knowledge of traffic rules, and of course, respect for fellow drivers and pedestrians.
In this article, we shall talk about 5 ways to become a better nighttime driver and avoid the most common mistakes people make driving at night.
Headlights are the key
Properly working headlights are the key to safe and comfortable nighttime driving. In some countries, local regulations require drivers to turn their headlights on even during the day.
However, if you normally don’t drive with your headlights on, it is essential to check them regularly and make sure that the lamps are not burnt, have the required brightness level, and illuminate the road properly.
After all, you can never know when and where you may have to drive in the dark next time.
Even if the headlights are in perfect condition, they won’t help you much if you are distracted and don’t stay focused while driving.
While this rule is true for driving at any time of the day, things don’t always look the same in the dark, and therefore you may need to pay extra attention to other vehicles and possible obstacles on the road at night.
Different drivers have different receipts for staying focused: some turn on AC on maximum, others prefer loud music or drink an extra cup of coffee before they get behind the wheel. Anyway, make sure that you eliminate all distractions and stay as focused as possible.
Clear the windshield
The windshield is the eyes of the vehicle. Therefore, it is essential to keep it as clear as possible, especially during nighttime driving.
Various spots and scratches may be pretty deceiving at night. They can distract you. It is also a good idea to remove GPS devices, video cameras, and any other objects from the windshield area while driving at night as they can prevent you from focusing on the road, send sound and visual notifications that may serve as an additional unnecessary distraction.
Get ready for the most unexpected obstacles
You may be surprised how much the road you drive every day can change at nighttime. Many animals get out at night and try to cross the road looking for food. The trees and bushes that seem so familiar can look differently at night. Pedestrians may try to cross the road in the wrong place, thinking that there are no cars on the street at the moment.
The best way to become a good nighttime driver is to imagine the most improbable things that can happen on the road and stay focused and prepared at all times.
Lights inside the car
While your headlights should be as bright as possible (within local regulations, of course), the lights inside the car need to be dimmed or switched off at all. The brighter it is inside, the harder it will be to see what is going on in front and around the vehicle.
Make sure to turn on your smartphone and all other devices that can send notifications, distract you with ads and light indicators. If you have passengers in the car, ask them to dim their screens also and avoid turning on the interior lights while you are driving.
Despite 60% less traffic on the roads, statistically, more than 40% of all fatal car accidents occur at night. However, it does not mean that driving at nighttime is dangerous, and you should avoid it entirely.
Staying focused is important at any time of the day, but at night it is crucial due to lower visibility. Your car’s condition also plays an essential role in the safety of your nighttime driving.
Contact OHS Body Shop and schedule your next routine check-up to make sure that your headlights work properly and the windshield is clear and free from scratches, cracks, and other damage. Our qualified mechanics will be happy to eliminate any issue that can compromise the safety and comfort of your driving. Our branches are located all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley, in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson, and we are always happy to see our customers and help them get the most out of their driving experience.