Driving at night can be an intimidating experience, especially if you are a new driver. Other factors such as poor weather conditions or being tired only exacerbate the sometimes daunting task of night driving. Some reports state that the risk of driving during the darkened hours are as high as three times greater.
7 Tips for Night Driving
- Be aware. You will need to pay closer attention to your surroundings because the dangers are only multiplied at night time. Sunset is the most precarious time to drive due to the changing shadows.
- Use your headlights. If you are a new driver or driving a new car, know where the headlights are before driving off. Newer cars have an automatic light switch that can sense when there is insufficient light―use it. Also, you will want to do some simple maintenance on your headlights: keep them clean, aimed in the right direction, and replace if broken.
- No speeding. In fact, you may want to consider reducing your speed. Wildlife is easier to spot in the daytime, but at night you may not see them till the last second. Keep your speed slower and scan ahead for animals.
- Limit distractions. Cell phones, radio, and other people in the car are sources of distraction while driving. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb While Driving and have your passenger oversee any buttons on the dashboard.
- Back Off! Following too closely, especially in inclement weather, is never a good idea. Maintain a space cushion between you and all other cars. Keep a three-second space between you and the car in front of you. For snow or other dangerous weather, add at least two seconds.
- Stay awake! Night driving may be preferred if you are going the long haul and don’t want to mess with traffic, hot summer days, or prefer your children to sleep for the journey. Try to get as much sleep as possible during the day and start as early as you can.
- Use a cool damp towel to pat your face with.
- Take frequent breaks. Go for a quick stroll, do jumping jacks, etc.
- Sing to yourself in the car.
- Roll down the windows and yell.
- Be realistic and stop to fully rest if you need to.
Contributed by Angelica Mecham